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Clean energy? 

Credit:  July 6, 2022 | edgertonenterprise.com ~~

If you drive from Lake Wilson through the country towards the hills of Chandler and west to Edgerton, you will see a large wind tower re-powering project taking place.

Allete Clean Energy Company is in the process of re-powering and expanding the Chanarambie and Viking Wind projects in Murray County. These wind farms became operational in the early 2000s. In 2015, Allete Clean Energy acquired the projects and is now decommissioning 65 wind towers. They will eventually be replaced with 45 bigger towers.

During decommission, the towers, blades, and nacelle are simply tipped over into the surrounding farm fields. Once the tower has been prepared, it takes about 30 minutes from the time they start cutting through the tower until it falls to the ground – something like felling a tree. The blades splinter and dig into the ground. While the process is simple, there is a great deal of logistics and planning that occurs beforehand and during the process to ensure the safety of the crews on the site.

Cleaning up this mess will involve picking up the bits and pieces by hand. (Submitted photos)

According to the Allete representative managing the decommissioning, about 90 percent of the towers can be recycled, including the wire, transformers, and electronic components. The blades, which are made of a fiberglass blend, are not recyclable. Those are hauled to a landfill area owned by Double D gravel out of Pipestone. You may have seen the blade disposal area if you travel north of Pipestone on Highway 75.

After all the towers are down, the remaining foundations are also removed to four feet below ground level. According to a report by the Institute for Energy Research, Excel Energy estimated that it would cost $532,000 to decommission one wind tower. That estimate was made in 2019, and since that time, construction costs have increased substantially.

As these towers come down, sites are being prepared for new towers. The new towers will be 2.3–2.82-megawatt towers. Under each tower will be a new foundation which consists of about 425 yards of concrete. You may see a lot of Buffalo Ridge Concrete trucks hauling to the wind tower sights every morning.

Source:  July 6, 2022 | edgertonenterprise.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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