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Editorial: Setting an energy example

U.S. Rep. Tim Walz visited Worthington on Thursday, meeting with community leaders at the Biotechnology Advancement Center to tout the Infrastructure Jobs and Energy Independence Act he has co-authored in Washington.

It should be pointed out, though, that Worthington -- not to mention the southwest Minnesota/northwest Iowa region -- has been looking toward energy independence for many years. The region has, and continues to be, a leader in development of alternative and clean sources, and what transpired just hours before Walz's visit is merely the latest example.

During a meeting on Wednesday night, the Nobles County Planning and Zoning Commission approved permits requested by Community Wind South for a switching station and laydown yard in Summit Lake Township, in effect moving forward a new 30-megawatt wind farm. The 15, 2-megawatt towers planned will not only be tallest in Nobles County, but the tallest in the state.

Last week's development has indeed been "a long time coming," as Community Wind South board member David Benson said Wednesday, as the group has been working on the wind energy concept for the past 12 years. As it comes to fruition, its local investors -- and in turn the communities in which they live -- will prosper.

Significant wind energy generation in Nobles County is one thing. Luverne's Gevo, which will soon be home to the world's first commercial-scale biobased plant, is something else entirely, yet another important energy effort. When considering these and other projects, it appears that when it comes to moving toward energy independence, our backyard appears to setting an excellent standard.