Goodhue Wind files permits with PUCST. PAUL - Critics of a proposed wind farm near Goodhue urged a state commission Thursday to scrutinize the project.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
ST. PAUL - Critics of a proposed wind farm near Goodhue urged a state commission Thursday to scrutinize the project.
Goodhue County landowners attended the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission meeting asking commissioners to question Goodhue Wind's status as a Community-Based Energy Development.
C-BED developments are supposed to guarantee some level of local project ownership.
The group also briefly discussed setback concerns.
"We want to show you there are some problems," said Carol Overland, a Red Wing attorney representing a local group of concerned landowners who say they're not against wind energy but want it done responsibly.
This was the first time the group has been able to address the commission.
Goodhue Wind officials - who want to build up to 39 wind turbines across Goodhue and Belle Creek townships - did not address the commission. Their project was on the agenda so commissioners could address the company's request for an exemption from some of the data requirements associated with a certificate of need application for the 78-megawatt project.
Projects larger than 5 megawatts must receive a site permit from the PUC. Projects larger than 50 megawatts also require a certificate of need.
Bob Cupit, manager of the PUC's energy facility permitting unit, said Goodhue Wind's request is common since the information required in the certificate of need application pertains mainly to utility companies.
"Most of the requirements don't apply to (independent power producers) because they don't have customers," Cupit said. "We have routinely exempted those data requirements."
On Thursday, commissioners voted to give themselves more time to review Goodhue Wind's request. Cupit said state law requiring the commission respond within 30 days is also outdated.
"We do need more time the way we operate these days," he said.
Cupit said the commission will eventually review those rules and likely make changes so they fit better with the evolving nature of the job and the increasing number of wind farm applications.
Goodhue Wind - managed by Minneapolis-based National Wind - is one of two companies trying to build a wind farm in the Goodhue area. The other, Geronimo Wind, has not filed any applications with the PUC.
Goodhue Wind's project will come before the PUC again at its Friday meeting. The commissioners will discuss whether to accept the company's amended site permit application, which it submitted last month.
If the application is accepted, the commission will decide whether to appoint a public adviser for the project.