Community wind turbine approved

Published 7:48 am Sunday, December 4, 2011

A small, one-turbine community wind project received the go-ahead Thursday from the Freeborn County commissioners.

Called the Cedar River Wind Farm III, the 1.5-megawatt turbine will be put up two miles east of Minnesota Highway 13 between Manchester and Hartland — only about a half a mile away from an existing turbine with the Bent Tree Wind Farm.

Construction will likely be in the spring.

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Unlike turbines on a commercial wind farm, the turbine on the Cedar River Wind Farm would be owned by any people in the area who choose to invest money in the project or who have signed up for wind rights there. The profits, in turn, would go back to these investors, and the energy generated would feed into a nearby Freeborn-Mower Cooperative Services substation.

This was the third time for the issue to come before the commissioners for approval.

“It started out being a simple application that met the ordinance, but it just got dragged out due to general opposition by a neighbor,” said Freeborn County Planning and Zoning Administrator Wayne Sorensen.

Sorensen said the developer ultimately agreed to move the turbine about 183 feet farther south. The developer is also now agreeing to pay landowners within 2,000 feet of the turbine a guaranteed $1,500 a year for 20 years.

The project was approved 4-1, with only Commissioner Jim Nelson voting against it.