Wind Power Gets Another Bump In Minnesota

In the past few years, Minnesota has become a leader in the U.S. wind industry, rising to fourth among the states with 2,485 MW of installed capacity – and another big wind-power generator appears to be on its way.

Geronimo Wind Energy has announced that its Prairie Rose Wind Farm, a 200-MW capacity project in southwestern Minnesota, received approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission early this month. The Prairie Rose plant will consist of 125 turbines placed over 35,000 acres. Construction is scheduled to begin by the end of this year, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

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image via Geronimo Wind Energy

Geronimo Wind Energy, based in Edina, Minnesota, has developed two other utility-scale wind plants in the state – the smaller Odin (20 MW) and Marshall (19 MW) plants – and has many other wind projects in development throughout the Midwest. In June, Geronimo Wind Energy and Xcel Energy signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement for the energy to be generated at the Prairie Rose Wind Farm.  Xcel Energy is required by the state’s renewables portfolio standard to produce 30 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025, while other utilities in the state have a 25 percent target. In 2010, the state produced 9.7 percent of its power from wind, the third highest in the United States, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Construction of the Prairie Rose Wind Farm is expected to cost approximately $350 million; and the farm will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes annually. The state has also backed the Prairie Rose Transmission  Line, which will start at the project in Rock County and deliver the energy produced at the farm to the Split Rock substation in Minnehaha County, South Dakota.

Lauren Craig is a writer and consultant living in Seattle, WA. She holds an M.S. in International Development from Tulane University, and is co-founder of Sustainable Systems Integrators, LLC., an employee-owned solar energy design and installation firm in New Orleans, LA. She is also certified in PV design and installation by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP).