The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), concerned about the Casey Jones State Trail, has asked for setback requirements for a proposed wind farm.
The concern was listed in the draft environmental report for the proposed Stoneray Wind Project that would extend from Woodstock into Murray County.
Turbines could “diminish the (trail’s) qualities of perceived remoteness and scenic value,” the DNR wrote. It’s suggested in the report that the turbines be located 250 feet away from the trail, a similar distance requirement away from public roads. It also suggested that Stoneray, when deciding a turbine’s location and type, utilize the area’s topography and vegetation to reduce visual intrusions.
Last week, the Minnesota Department of Commerce finished writing the draft environmental report which analyzes the potential human and environmental impacts of the proposed project and alternatives to the project.
That draft document is the topic of a public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the Herbert Holtke American Legion Post 285 in Lake Wilson.
During that hearing, the public may give comments about possible environmental and human impacts before the final report is drafted for the Commission for the final permit determination, currently scheduled for June. Staff from the public utilities commission, Department of Commerce and Stoneray Power Partners will be available to answer questions as to the cost and benefits of the project and whether the project is needed.
The final environmental report will help the five-member Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decide whether to grant a certificate of need and a site permit necessary for the estimated wind farm to cost $160 to $232 million to construct.
Stoneray Power Partners, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy (formerly enXco) proposed building a 29,500-acre wind farm, consisting of 32 to 62 wind turbines ranging in size from 1.7 to 3.2 megawatts (MW), up to a total of 105 MW. Turbines would be located in Rock and Burke townships in Pipestone County and Chanarambie and Cameron townships in Murray County or around Woodstock.
Stoneray hasn’t determined exact locations for or sizes of its turbines but, last month, the Commission approved Stoneray’s draft site permit.
Commerce officials will take written public comments on the draft site permit and the draft environmental report until Jan. 28.
Copies of the draft environmental report are available at http: //mn.gov/commerce/energyfacilities/Docket.html?Id=33153 or at Meinders Community Library, 1401 Seventh St. SW in Pipestone.
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