Changes made to a 78-megawatt wind farm planned in Goodhue County have had the Goodhue County Board wondering whether the project should qualify for Community-Based Energy Development status.
Since the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the Office of Energy Security’s past decisions have said the project does meet C-BED status, the County Board decided back in October to send a request to the PUC asking it to research the matter further.
“At this point the PUC has not yet agreed to look into the actual C-BED status of the project,” Goodhue County Attorney Steve Betcher told commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting.
Instead, the PUC opened up a public comment period earlier this month to get input on a variety of questions surrounding the wind project, including that of Community-Based Energy Development.
“I don’t know that this would have happened had we not sent our letter,” Betcher said. “Perhaps the board deserves a little credit for encouraging them to go in that direction.”
Betcher suggested the County Board consider re-sending its letter of request now that an official comment period is open.
“So it is definitely going to be part of the record,” he explained. “The board has a right to comment just as do members of the public.”
Commissioners voted unanimously to submit the letter again this week.
The initial period for comments on New Era Wind Farm, LLC’s project closes at 4:30 p.m. Friday Jan. 25 and a reply comment period closes Feb. 8.
Citizens interested in submitting comments can email them to PublicComments.PUC@state.mn.us or mail them to Burl Haar, Executive Secretary, Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, 121 Seventh Place E., Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55101-2147.