GOODHUE – Monday’s decision by the Belle Creek Town Board to file a legal appeal against the AWA Goodhue wind project could extend the battle over renewable energy in Goodhue County by another year.
National Wind, the project developer, applied for a site permit with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the 78-megawatt project in 2009, but the permitting process has been contested by two local government bodies and two opposition groups; a typical project in Minnesota is permitted within 6-12 months, while this 32,000-acre project required more than two years to receive its permit.
When the PUC completed its process by rejecting four reconsideration requests for its site permit on Nov. 10, critics took the issue to appellate court. The 6-rotor diameter setback approved by the PUC was about 1,000 feet less than what the county ordinance required and 100 feet more than the wind company was offering. Concerns about wildlife impact and local control have been also been raised.
Goodhue County declined to make an appeal on Oct. 15 despite adopting one of the state’s most stringent wind ordinances in October 2010.
Read in Tuesday’s print edition about the debate and why one group plans to recall a county commissioner.
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