Largest Wind Farm In Minnesota Up And Running

EnXco’s Lakefield Wind Project in Jackson County, Minn., is now fully operational. Construction at the site began in September 2010, but the plant is the culmination of eight years of dedicated planning efforts. The 205.5-megawatt (MW) wind farm consists of 137 of GE’s 1.5-MW wind turbines. It is the largest wind energy project in Minnesota, generating enough electricity to power more than 68,000 homes.

Owner and operator enXco is a subsidiary of the French energy company EDF, and is the largest third-party operations and maintenance provider for wind farms in North America. The project is enXco’s ninth wind farm in Minnesota, bringing its total owned wind capacity in the state to 915.5 MW.

Wind power plant, Minnesota, enXco

image via enXco

Power generated by the wind farm is feeding directly into the MISO transmission system, and is being purchased by Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) under a 20-year power purchase agreement. IPL serves about 470,000 residential, commercial and industrial electric customers in Indianapolis, as well as portions of other Central Indiana communities surrounding Marion County. The project is the second collaboration between enXco and IPL. The two companies also worked together to develop the 106-MW Hoosier Wind Project in Benton County, Ind., which was commissioned in November 2009. Union Bank and MetLife provided financing for the project.

“EnXco is once again pleased to extend our experience and successful relationship with Indianapolis Power & Light Company to deliver the economic and renewable benefits from the Lakefield Wind Project,” said Kate O’Hair, Midwest regional director for enXco. “We look forward to being a continued partner with IPL and the communities of Minnesota to further our efforts to supply clean energy to the nation’s grid.” The Lakefield Wind Project brings enXco’s total wind energy capacity to 1,141 MW.

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).