WORTHINGTON - Representatives from Tenaska met with Nobles County commissioners during a Wednesday morning work session to provide an update on the Nobles 2 Wind farm slated for construction starting this fall.

Scott Seier and Timberly Ross were in Nobles County to meet with landowners this week and talk about the process for the 74-turbine, 250-megawatt wind farm (10, 2-megawatt turbines and 64, 3.6-megawatt turbines). With site permits and final orders approved by the state in mid-February, a 20-year power purchase agreement has also been signed with Duluth-based Minnesota Power, a division of Allete.

Seier said Tenaska has a “near final” layout for the wind farm, which will be located in a 42,000-acre area stretching from west of Lismore to east of Wilmont and north to the Murray County line. It was meeting with landowners this week to show them where the towers and access roads will be located.

The approval process to tie the wind generation lines into the electrical grid is anticipated to be completed in June, Seier said.

Mortenson is the primary contractor for the project, with Westwood contracted for road inspection work. Seier said roads will be inspected for condition, with improvements made where needed.

“Some of that work will start this week,” he said, adding that activity on the project will ramp up in the coming weeks and months. Construction is planned to begin in August, with completion of access roads, foundations and underground installation taking place this fall.

“Whatever is not done, we will come back as early as March 2020,” Seier said. “Probably in June 2020 the turbines will be delivered to the site, and by late October, early November, we hope to have everything completed and begin operation.”

In addition to the Nobles 2 Wind update, commissioners:

  • Received an update from Brad Harberts on the county’s ditch system. Ditch system viewers have draft reports ready for joint ditches 9, 13 and 24 with Jackson County, and meetings will likely be scheduled in June with landowners to see if they want to proceed with projects.

Harberts also said reports of tile damages are starting to come in, particularly on Judicial Ditch 8.

Nobles County Soil and Water Conservation District Manager John Shea joined Harberts to talk about problems with erosion on some of the county’s ditch systems. He said funding would be available on eligible ditch systems to plant brome or a similar grass over tile lines to help reduce erosion.

  • Discussed interest in working with SolSmart, an organization that assists counties in making sure their land use policies are solar-friendly. At this point, Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson said he doesn’t have the time to pursue something, and he said he doesn’t think the public is ready for solar.