Murray County wind turbine upgrades get PUC approval

MARSHALL — A project to replace 65 existing wind turbines in western Murray County will be moving forward. On Thursday, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved a 120 megawatt project by Northern Wind Energy Redevelopment, LLC.

The Northern Wind project will replace turbines in two existing wind farms, the Chanarambie and Viking projects. The existing turbines would be replaced with a total of 45 new turbines that are larger and more efficient, the PUC said.

A summary of the project said 57 turbines from the Chanarambie project and eight from the Viking project would be removed and replaced. When the new turbines are up and running, Northern Wind plans to sell the electricity they generate to Xcel Energy, according to an administrative law judge’s report on the project.

Northern Wind is an affiliate of Allete Clean Energy. Allete Clean Energy currently owns and operates several wind farms in Minnesota. It bought the Chanarambie and Viking wind projects in Murray County in 2015.

In Thursday news release, the PUC said the Northern Wind project would bring about 300 jobs during construction, and up to 10 permanent full-time positions after construction is complete. In the long term, the project is estimated to bring $600,000 a year in tax revenues for Murray County, the release said.

“These projects are incredibly helpful to our local communities throughout greater Minnesota — they add construction jobs, long-term operations positions, and boost local economies through additional tax revenues,” said Commissioner John Tuma of the Minnesota PUC. “In addition to the workforce benefits, these projects help more people access low-cost Minnesota made energy for their homes and businesses.”


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