It was a breeze.
In a unanimous vote Tuesday, Douglas County Commissioners adopted a resolution to support the development of a small-scale wind energy project in Hudson Township.
The project, named Southwind Energy, LLC, was proposed as a Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) project.
“Douglas County has tremendous potential for wind energy,” Land and Resource Management Director David Rush told the commissioners. “The C-BED project needs to be approved or supported by the county.”
Craig and Kathy Damstrom proposed to construct one or two wind turbines that would generate up to 3.0 megawatts of energy, which could be used on their farm, South Wind Acres Farm, with excess energy going into the power connections to be used in the area.
A 60-meter meteorological tower was erected at the proposed site to collect energy data. The information was sent to National Wind for analysis to assess the energy potential of the site over a two-year period, according to Craig Damstrom.
The wind turbine(s) would be located close to the middle of their farm, near County Road 4, east of Forada.
“We are right on the edge of a good wind,” he said.
Great River Energy (GRE) is seeking energy suppliers, according to Damstrom. GRE supplies power to Runestone Electric Association.
The excess power generated from the wind turbines would be transmitted to a substation in Hudson Township.
“The majority of that energy would be used right here in Douglas County,” Damstrom said. “It is an opportunity for more jobs, clean energy and – in this particular case – this would be a community wind project where I would be looking for investors here in this community.”
The energy obtained from “farming the wind” could be used for irrigation and in battery power packs for farm equipment, according to Damstrom’s proposal summary. Likewise, nitrogen harvested from the air could be used for fertilizer or fuel, according to the proposal.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently awarded the Damstroms an $18,750 grant for a renewable energy project. They plan to use the funds for a feasibility study.
“The environmental impact is positive,” Damstrom said.
Commissioner Paul Anderson voiced his support for the measure.
“I am all in favor of this,” he said and motioned to adopt the resolution. “I see no reason why it wouldn’t be successful.”
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