Construction on Canby wind project to start in early ‘19

GRANITE FALLS — Construction on the Flying Cow Wind project just west of Canby is expected to start in early 2019 and be completed by the end of that year, according to a report presented to the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners.

The commissioners heard preliminary progress reports from representatives of Renewable Energy Systems Tuesday afternoon. The project is also known as Bitter Root Wind.

Development Manager Michelle Matthews and Permitting Specialist Anne-Marie Griger took joined YMC Zoning Coordinator Jolene Johnson during the PowerPoint presentation and question and answer period.

Renewable Energy Systems Permitting Director Sean Flannery and its Land Agent, Paul Tol, were also present to answer questions relating to the foot print the wind farm would create.

The project plans to erect 32 turbines for a total of 150 megawatt electrical production. It is limited in size because of the presence of the Canby airport to the northeast and the existence of other solar farms to the southeast in Lincoln County.

“This project was first developed in 2008 and permitted in 2009,” Matthews said.

The project is large enough that the permit application had to be addressed to the state Utilities Commissioner.

The company would build transmission lines in Deuel County, just over the South Dakota state line to connect to Brookings to Big Stone.

The company will be working with the county and the city of Canby on road use agreements and driveway permits.

Benefits to the community, they said, included production taxes of around $690,000, of which 80 percent would go to the Yellow Medicine County and 20 percent would go to the townships.

There would be 4-5 permanent full-time positions, 150 temporary construction jobs, electrical, concrete and excavation jobs and landowner payments.

Renewable Energy Systems took over the project in 2015,” Matthews said. “In 2016, a new environmental assessment was conducted.”

The company thoroughly surveys prospective property, she said, to be sure they include every aspect to be considered, such as wild life, human population and other factors such as air traffic.

In November, Flying Cow resubmitted their utilities permit application.

“We are now talking to town council and county board to see how we can work together,” Matthews said.

“You’re doing the right thing,” YMC Board Chair Gary Johnson told her. “Sharing information before starting construction is a good thing.”

Board chair Gary Johnson asked, “How did you come up with the name Flying Cow?”

Matthews said the naming of the project was left up to the company. He said the name just came out of nowhere.

Matthews went on to explain that Renewable Energy Systems “pointer company” (parent company) is a large development Company out of the United Kingdom.

Its subsidiaries are located all over the U.S., Canada and Minnesota. There is an office in Minneapolis and one in Broomfield, Colo.

There will be a public hearing in January or February, Matthews said.

There is a second windfarm planned for Minnesota. In 2020, the company plans to construct Walleye Wind Project.


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