Plum Creek Wind Farm expected to inject millions of dollars into region

SLAYTON — Jordan Burmeister with Geronimo Energy will speak to the Murray County Board at 9:30 a.m. today regarding the Plum Creek Wind Farm which is projected to bring millions of dollars to the area over the next 20 years.

Burmeister, a development associate with Geronimo Energy, will give an overview of the Plum Creek Wind Farm under development in Cottonwood, Murray and Redwood counties.

“The Plum Creek Wind Farm is planned for up to 400 megawatts with the potential to be built in phases,” Burmeister said in an advance release. “The total Plum Creek Wind Farm footprint spans approximately 70,000 acres in the townships of Dovray and Holly in Murray County; Ann, Highwater and Westbrook in Cottonwood County; and Lamberton and North Hero in Redwood County.”

Plum Creek represents a total investment of up to $640 million once fully developed, according to Geronimo Energy.

“CO2 Emissions are reduced by 1.1 million metric tons per year,” Burmeister said. “We are making $52.4 million per year in landowner payments and up to $80,000 per year to the local community fund. There will be a direct local economic impact of $100,000 over the first 20 years.”

The Plum Creek Wind Farm was originated in mid-2016 with initial conversations with local landowners to gauge the interest of local community.

In the past, wind development had been limited in the Plum Creek Wind Farm area due to limited transmission. However, recent new transmission additions have made wind energy development favorable.

Geronimo Energy has a successful history in developing wind farms and boosting local economies in the Plum Creek Wind Farm regions and is proposing to do the same for the Plum Creek Wind Farm community by building on existing local relationships, Burmeister’s advance flier said.

Currently, the bulk of the Plum Creek Wind Farm is slated for the area between the towns of Westbrook and Walnut Grove.

Geronimo Energy projects the development will produce $36 million over 20 years in landowner payments, $2.6 million annually. It will offer 18 full-time jobs with $24 million in wages over 20 years, $1.2 million annually.

Tax Revenue distribution of $36 million over 20 years, $1.8 million per year is divided as follows: Eighty percent to County: $28.8 million over 20 years per county or $1.4 million per year and 20 percent to townships of $7.2 million over 20 years or $360,000 per year.

Even during development and/or construction, the project will produce revenue for the area, Geronimo Development reports.

Over the five year projected development period, $120,000 will come from, but not limited to: sponsorships, marketing, travel, meals, legal fees, office and county recordings. Also during development, $1.5 million in payments will be made to the landowners.

During construction, there will be a capital infrastructure investment of roughly $600 million, company stats indicated. There will be about 264 temporary construction jobs, hundreds of thousands spent on temporary worker living and entertainment expenses, millions spent within the local communities and host state. Geronimo Energy also anticipates making significant road improvements around the project area.

Geronimo has a local office in Windom and has engaged the local community to build support for the project, Burmeister said.