Company to build wind farm in Goodhue County

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Farmers and motorists should be watching wind turbines turn in southeastern Goodhue County late next year or early in 2010.

National Wind L.L.C., which already is working on four wind farms in Minnesota, now plans to place a fifth in rural areas near the city of Goodhue, a spokeswoman said.

An affiliate called Goodhue Wind L.L.C. will actually develop the commercial electricity project, National Wind announced Tuesday in a written release. National Wind, which is based in Minneapolis, will manage the wind farm.

Goodhue Wind currently plans to erect about 40 turbine towers rated to produce a maximum 78 megawatts of power per hour. The number of towers could differ depending upon the mix of sizes selected. They typically range in capacity from 1.5 megawatts to 2 megawatts each.

The newly formed company is negotiating an agreement to export the electricity from the turbines, National Wind spokeswoman Valida Prentice said. The company must have the agreement with transmission authorities before tying into the electrical grid and being able to send the electricity to market.

The projected 12- to 15-month construction time actually is quick for a windpower project, she said.

Goodhue Wind already has landed some sites for its turbines after about two months of talking with area farmers and property owners. A group of landowners and business people founded and provided initial financing for the company along with National Wind.

The project is being structured as a Community-Based Energy Development, designed to benefit local owners.

Minnesota utilities must meet progressive state targets for generation of power from renewable energy. Goodhue Wind “hopes to attract interest from utilities seeking to meet the first targets of the state’s … law,” the release says.

National Wind has sponsored four other windpower ventures in Minnesota, including a 400-megawatt development in Dodge and Olmsted counties called High Country Energy L.L.C..

National Wind also is behind a 300-megawatt farm, called Root River Energy L.L.C., which is to be located in southern Fillmore County.

The company also has a 50-megawatt part at a wind farm in Cottonwood County in western Minnesota and is working on a 350-megawatt windpower farm in Meeker and Kandiyohi counties, northwest of the Twin Cities.

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