United States

United States

Utility scale turbine erected in suburban Minneapolis

A single utility-scale wind turbine going up in the Minneapolis suburb of Elk River was dedicated at a groundbreaking ceremony last month to Minnesota State Senator Janet Johnson, a strong renewables and wind power advocate who died last summer. Greg Jaunich's Northern Alternative Energy (NAE) is developing the Vestas V47, 660 kW turbine, the first large turbine in the state to be raised in a predominantly urban area. NAE is selling the turbine's expected 1.2 million kWh output to Xcel Energy. Johnson was elected to the state's senate in 1990 and was largely responsible for putting the state far ahead of most others in the US with legislation promoting wind development. She spearheaded the 1994 mandate requiring Xcel Energy, then Northern States Power, to develop 425 MW of wind energy by December 31, 2001. She also helped pass a renewables preference law and a state incentive payment for wind projects under 2 MW. "The hard part is working on legislation this year with the huge void left by her death," says the American Wind Energy Association's John Dunlop.

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