SAUK CENTRE – A wind energy company wants to build a second major wind farm in Stearns County.
Black Oak Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Edina-based Geronimo Wind Energy, is proposing to erect up to 26 turbines in Ashley and Raymond townships, about five miles southwest of Sauk Centre. The company is seeking a permit from the state Public Utilities Commission for the 42-megawatt project.
The site includes about 7,100 acres of farm land. Black Oak Wind has signed agreements with landowners for about 6,565 of those acres.
Each turbine will be about 400 to 500 feet tall, including the rotor blades.
The project has a lot of support from local landowners, said Charlie Daum, a spokesman for Geronimo Wind.
Geronimo also plans to build a 95-megawatt wind farm near Paynesville with up to 60 turbines. The PUC approved a certificate of need and site permit for that project in November.
Unlike Paynesville, the Black Oak project does not require a PUC-issued certificate of need because of its smaller size, Daum said. He expects the approval process to take six to eight months and construction to begin in 2012.
The exact timeline depends on Geronimo’s ability to negotiate agreements with utility companies willing to purchase power from the wind farms. It’s a difficult task given the economic challenges the wind industry is facing, Daum said.
Geronimo is in negotiations with a couple of utility companies for a power purchase agreement for the Paynesville wind farm, Daum said. The company hopes to start construction on that project later this year or in 2012.
Geronimo also is looking at two other possible sites for a wind farm, near Luxemburg and Albany.