Minnesota regulators pull plug on Goodhue County wind farm proposal

June 20, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News




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    The eagles in Goodhue County may not know it, but they won a victory Thursday. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission pulled the plug on a controversial wind energy project that was stalled for years by a fierce and well-organized local opposition that successfully used its potential impact on eagles to help derail it.

    Concerns about the eagles and other wildlife emerged late in the development process, well after the PUC had given the company legal authority and a permit to build. But it’s an example of how concerns about wildlife and other environmental siting issues have become a concern nationally. Once largely ignored, the impact on birds and bats, which die by the many thousands when they run into turbine blades, has now become a focus for both the industry and conservation groups nationally.

    The developer, New Era Wind Farm, could try to revive the $180 million project after resolving legal issues with Xcel Energy, its attorney said. But after years of delay caused in part by the wildlife issues, the PUC commissioners voted unanimously not to extend the company’s legal authority to build the 78 megawatt wind farm in Goodhue County.

    “It doesn’t necessarily kill the project, but it doesn’t help,” said Todd Guerrero, the attorney representing New Era wind farm.

     

    Josephine Marcotty • 612-673-7394

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