Construction on the Prairie Rose Wind Farm, which we reported last year as scheduled to begin at the end of the year (2011), is now expected to get under way on May 7, according to the Worthington (Minn.) Daily Globe. At that time, Geronimo Wind Energy–the firm heading up the project–will set up a laydown yard in Section 27 of Denver Township, less than a mile northwest of Hardwick in the southwest corner of Minnesota. The purpose of this will be to make certain all the parts for the turbines are present and accounted for before construction begins.
Beginning with 119 turbines, the Prairie Rose could ultimately contain as many as 125 GE units, each 400 feet tall (to the tip of the blade vertically) and delivering 1.68 megawatts (MW) of electrical energy at a total cost of $350 million. As we also reported last year, Xcel Energy, headquartered in Minneapolis, with service territories in its home state, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, has a power purchase agreement to buy the 200 megawatts of electricity.
On 25,000 leased acres in Pipestone and Rock counties near Blue Mounds State Park, acquired rights will be used to build about 30 miles of transmission line to transport the electricity from the site to the Split Rock Substation near Brandon, S.D. Geronimo Wind Energy told the Worthington Daily Globe that benefits of the wind farm to area residents, not including the $22 million lease payout over 20 years, would include about $600,000 to Rock County for wind energy production taxes and about $150,000 per year to each of the three townships (Rose Dell, Springwater and Denver) where the turbines are to be located.
The project will also add jobs–up to 300 during construction by Mortenson Construction, the contractor of record–and stimulate local economies, according to the developer. Prairie Rose will be built on Rock County’s portion of the Buffalo Ridge, a natural height-of-land 60 miles long and almost 2000 feet high which saw the construction of the 205MW Buffalo Ridge (Lake Benton) wind farm, commissioned in 1994 and at that time the largest wind farm in Minnesota. The Prairie Rose wind farm is expected to go online this December.