WILMONT — The Nobles 2 wind farm, a 250-megawatt facility under construction in northern Nobles County since August 2019, is now fully operational after beginning commercial operation on Saturday.
Power generated by the 74-turbine wind farm is being purchased by Minnesota Power, which provides electric service to 145,000 customers, 15 municipalities and large industrial customers within a 26,000-square-mile area in northeast Minnesota. The wind farm signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with the utility, which is a division of ALLETE.
Tenaska, an Omaha, Nebraska-based energy company, developed and will operate Nobles 2, its 19th power project brought online to date, and its second wind farm to begin operation in 2020. The company operates facilities across the United States.
“From Day One, local leaders, landowners and the community have been open and receptive to wind development. We are excited to have worked with them to make the Nobles 2 wind farm a reality,” said Tenaska CEO and Vice Chairman Jerry Crouse. “We look forward to the many years of operation ahead, delivering renewable energy to Minnesota Power.”
The wind farm, constructed with Vestas turbines, is owned by Nobles 2 Power Partners, LLC, which includes affiliates of Tenaska (a subsidiary of ALLETE) and Bright Canyon Energy.
“Nobles 2 will propel Minnesota Power to a 50% renewable energy milestone, the highest renewable percentage among Minnesota utilities,” said Julie Pierce, Minnesota Power vice president of strategy and planning. “As we deliver more renewable energy to our customers, the people and communities near Nobles 2 will gain the economic benefits, including jobs, tax revenue and donations, of having this clean new power source in their region.”
“Nobles 2 is important to our company and to the customers of Minnesota Power, who will benefit for years to come from the clean energy produced by this wind farm,” said Jason Smith, general manager for Bright Canyon Energy. “America’s energy supply is getting cleaner by the year, and we are proud to be a partner with Tenaska in advancing this goal.”
Vestas, a global manufacturer of wind turbines, supplied the wind turbines and will provide maintenance services for the project. Mortenson was the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor.
Over the past 14 months, the project provided approximately 150 local jobs, with approximately $15.5 million in contracts awarded to businesses in the region. The wind farm employs 14 people, and is anticipated to result in increased tax revenue of more than $1.1 million annually to local units of government. The project also diversifies land use and provides income to landowners through lease payments.
In lieu of a celebration of the project’s completion amid COVID-19, Nobles 2 Power Partners provided $30,000 in donations to first-responders and social services in Nobles County that are responding to the pandemic.
The wind farm has committed to a community fund that will benefit communities in the project area, including the townships of Bloom, Larkin, Lismore, Leota, Summit Lake and Wilmont. Nobles 2 will contribute $15,000 per year for 20 years. The first payment into the fund will take place within the first operational year.