A Minnesota-based company has received permission to test the wind for a potential wind farm between Mitchell and Mount Vernon, after the Davison County Commission provided its blessing Tuesday.
The commission voted 5-0 to approve a conditional-use permit for Juhl Energy to construct a 198-foot test tower in Beulah Township. The decision was made during the commission’s regular meeting Tuesday at the Davison County North Offices in Mitchell.
If the test is successful, the energy company hopes to build 9 to 12 wind turbines in Davison County, with the test tower location serving as the midpoint. The project’s rough cost to build the entire site is estimated at $40 million, according to Corey Juhl, vice president of Juhl Energy Development, Inc.
The test is expected to take anywhere for 9 to 18 months, with 12 months considered the standard for collecting data. Test tower data is needed to help secure financing for the project.
Davison County Commission Chairman John Claggett said he hoped the data would be helpful to potentially lure more economic development or businesses to the area. Juhl said his company would be interested in sharing that data with the county when the study is done.
The commission took one public comment on the wind tower proposal. Larry Hasz, of rural Mitchell, asked about the location of the test tower and why the potential wind farm wouldn’t be located north of Loomis, where there’s a less dense population base and a higher elevation. Juhl explained the company wants to be close to the transmission line owned by NorthWestern Energy and a nearby substation. Wind farms, he said, generally need to be located within three miles of their transmission line or they risk losing some of the power.
“This is driven by the point of interconnectivity,” Juhl said. “It comes down to proximity and engineering reasons.”
Juhl expects the test tower to be erected by the end of the month.
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