Energy company proposes new wind project in Lyon County

Photo by Deb Gau Shanelle Montana, of EDF Renewable Energy, spoke to Lyon County commissioners about plans for a wind power project in the eastern part of the county.

MARSHALL — A renewable energy company is looking to build more wind turbines in Lyon County, although the project is still in the early planning stages.

Members of the Lyon County Board heard a presentation from EDF Renewable Energy on the possibility of a 200 megawatt wind project in eastern Lyon County. Shanelle Montana, senior project developer at EDF, said the company is conducting weather and environmental studies, as well as negotiating with landowners in the area.

“Where we are at right now is very early in the project,” Montana told commissioners.

EDF Renewable Energy is one of the is one of the largest renewable energy companies in the country, Montana said. EDF’s customers include large companies, and not just energy suppliers, she said. EDF has built several wind energy projects in Minnesota, including the 200 megawatt Red Pine Wind Project just completed in Lincoln County.

Montana said EDF Renewable Energy is planning for a 200 megawatt wind project in Lyon County, located in an area that could include parts of Clifton, Stanley, Fairview, Lake Marshall and Amiret townships. The wind project would connect with the Lyon County electrical substation, or possibly with power transmission lines already running through the county.

“How many (turbines) are you planning on putting up?” asked Commissioner Gary Crowley.

The actual number of turbines in the project would depend on the size and type of turbine built, Montana said.

Montana said planning work for what EDF is calling the Redwood River Wind Project is ongoing. She said it is hoped that the project will receive a permit from the Public Utilities Commission around 2019.

“We are continuing to do a lot of environmental study,” she said. The company is analyzing factors like the project’s possible effect on bats and eagles. EDF Renewable Energy is also studying data from meteorological towers in Lyon County. Two meteorological towers have been put up, and a third is planned, Montana said.

EDF Renewable Energy already has around 3,600 acres of land in negotiation or under contract for the wind project, Montana said. EDF will lease land for the wind project from area landowners.

Montana’s presentation materials said the project would create 200 temporary jobs during construction, as well as up to 10 long-term positions while the turbines are in operation.

“We do make an effort to bring in as much local labor as we possibly can,” Montana said. However, she said EDF has faced situations where qualified workers can’t be found locally.

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