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Three new wind farms proposed in county

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a Community Based Energy Development (C-BED) request from Wolf Wind Development to construct 27 wind turbines in western Nobles County.

Allen Wolf of rural Adrian and his son, Ryan, of LeSueur, asked commissioners for support of a C-BED tariff, which allows the 15 investors in the three-site project to negotiate the best purchase power agreement for the energy the turbines produce. The tariff does not give investors any tax breaks on the projects.

Each of the three sites to be developed will be under separate limited liability companies.

The I-90 Wind Project, to be constructed in Olney Township, will be owned by Joal I, Joal II and I-90 Wind Transmission. Owners of the Adrian Wind Project include Skybeans I, Skybeans II and Adrian Wind Transmission; those turbines will be constructed in portions of Little Rock and Grand Prairie townships. The Lismore Wind Project, to be constructed in Lismore Township, will be owned by Back Pasture Power I, Back Pasture Power II and Lismore Wind Transmission.

Ryan Wolf said the wind turbine projects are in the very early stages and that construction wouldn't begin until at least 2007. The 2.1-megawatt turbines will feature Suzlon S-88 technology, with the turbine blades likely to be constructed at the new Suzlon facility in Pipestone.

Once the project is completed, it will be the largest wind turbine development in Nobles County.

"This is sort of what we wanted to do -- to develop projects for other farmers," Wolf said.

Three investors in Wolf Wind Development are also investing in a portion of these latest projects.

Wolf Wind Development was formed after the Wolf family completed construction of five wind turbines in Ransom Township. Wolf said the family began working to develop a wind farm in mid-2002.

In other action, the board:

* Authorized pavement striping on Diagonal Road at the four-way stop on Oxford Street. The intent will be to create left-hand turn lanes in addition to the middle and right-hand turn lanes already painted at the intersection. Stephen Schnieder, Public Works director, said adding the left-hand turn lanes will help alleviate traffic congestion and aid in decreasing the number of crashes at the intersection.

* Received information regarding a $500,000 grant for which Nobles County Public Works will apply. The grant would fund the paving of a three-mile stretch of Nobles County 61 from Nobles County 35 to the county landfill. Commissioners resolved to support the grant application and submit letters of recommendation for the project.

* Received a report from Gene Foth of the Manna Food Pantry regarding the increasing use of services at the pantry. In the first six months of 2006, the pantry recorded a 53 percent increase in the number of people served over the same time period in 2005.

* Discussed ongoing talks regarding the relocation and possible expansion of the Southwestern Mental Health facility in Worthington. A meeting is slated for this afternoon with health care providers, mental health advocates and county officials to discuss some of the issues facing Nobles County in regard to serving clients with mental health issues.

* Granted a conditional use permit for Gary Klenken of Wilmont to construct a 174-foot, non-commercial wind turbine on land in the west half of the southwest quarter of Section 1, Larkin Township.

* Granted a conditional use permit to Mark Bullerman of Adrian for the construction of a 60- by 248-foot total confinement cattle finishing barn in the southwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 6, Olney Township.

* Granted a conditional use permit for Brad Lonneman of Adrian to construct at 81- by 120-foot hog confinement barn in the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 33, Olney Township.

* Granted a conditional use permit for Steve Elias of Adrian to construct a 102- by 192-foot total confinement barn in the east half of the southeast quarter of Section 11, Westside Township.

* Authorized for roof improvements to be made to a county-owned cold storage building south of Worthington.

* Approved the placement of bituminous overlay on several sections of county roads that show deterioration. The total project cost is estimated at $415,000.

* Supported a resolution to replace a shared automation program for the Plum Creek Library System. Each of the nine counties within Plum Creek Library are being asked to contribute $25,000 toward the cost of the program. Commissioners approved the request, contingent upon each of the remaining eight counties also funding the program and allowing the county the flexibility to develop a payment schedule.

Of the $25,000 request of Nobles County, $10,000 will come from earmarked funds that went unused by the library during the current budget cycle.

* Approved an updated pharmacy contract between the Nobles County Jail and Sterling Drug.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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