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High Country Energy, LLC’s community wind energy project is based upon the concept of local, shared ownership and has the support of area landowners. Area investors have partnered with National Wind, to form and capitalize High Country Energy, LLC.
Some of the members who have invested in this project now serve on the Members Advisory Committee: Bryant Hokeness, Ken Binkley, Lisa Heggedahl, and John Meyer. High Country Energy has 300 local project participants. The following is a basic project overview. Be sure to check out the “project news” section for the latest information of this wind farm’s progress.
PROJECT LOCATION: The site location stretches over miles of agricultural land in Dodge, Olmsted and Mower Counties.
LAND/SIZE: High Country Energy plans to develop 150 megawatts of wind energy. The project area is categorized as mostly pasture land and cropland. Pasture land and cropland are generally compatible with wind farm development. The land is substantially owned by local farmers.
WIND: The project site has excellent wind speeds. Our initial studies indicate that it has some of the best wind speeds in the state. Our team of wind experts installed three on-site meteorological towers to collect ongoing wind data.
TRANSMISSION: A multi-faceted transmission interconnection strategy is in place. Several interconnection requests have been put in place and we are consistently monitoring transmission policies and procedures with the goal of improving our success.
ENVIRONMENTAL: Based upon a preliminary analysis, we are confident we will have a viable project. Additional analyses will be conducted to obtain the necessary permitting approvals to construct the wind farm.
ECONOMIC BENEFIT: A project of this size will generate a roughly equivalent amount of electricity as that consumed by 45,000 average homes. One megawatt of wind energy can power 250-300 homes.
NUMBER OF TURBINES: When all phases are complete, High Country Wind Energy could consist of 100+ turbines depending on their size and configuration.
OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE: High Country Energy now has over 300 local members. High Country Energy's wind project will be structured as a Community Based Energy Development (C-BED) as designated by the State of Minnesota. Minnesota C-BED certification, declares a minimum of 51 percent of the economic benefits made during commercial operation must flow to the community over the project’s lifespan. Under this ownership structure, landowners and other community members can share in the economic benefits from this project.
COMMERCIAL OPERATION DATE: Based on development, transmission and construction schedules, the first project may come “on-line” in the next two to three years.
CURRENT STAGE: High Country Energy has secured thousands of acres as part of its project development. Currently High Country Energy's field specialists are signing additional landowners in the project's footprint.