BLUE EARTH – Construction on the first commercial wind farm in Faribault County has begun on a site just west of Blue Earth.
The 36-megawatt project could potentially generate enough energy to power 20,000 homes annually, according to engineer Dustin Schivley of Idaho-based Exergy Development Group, which purchased the construction rights.
Big Blue Wind Farm will utilize 18 wind turbines, each reaching more than 400 feet high.
Michele Stindtman of the Faribault County Soil and Water office said the turbines will be atypically aligned, spread out over 15,000 acres in Jo Daviess Township.
Construction will include concrete foundations for the turbines and access roads, with turbines expected to be erected by mid-February.
Schivley acknowledged that turbines have a reputation for mechanical failure but said the machines that will be used are state of the art.
The construction phase is expected to require about 45 workers, project manager Kyle Schmidt said.
A 36-megawatt operation is regarded as a modestly sized wind farm.
Legislated state of Minnesota energy goals call for utility companies to get at least 25 percent of their power from renewable resources (solar, wind or burned waste) by 2025.