Letter: Local input is key in wind debateAs many area residents are aware, there is a plan for a wind energy conversion project being proposed in Goodhue County.
By: Tim Kelly, Red Wing, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
As many area residents are aware, there is a plan for a wind energy conversion project being proposed in Goodhue County. While this news thrills some landowners who see this as an opportunity, it infuriates others who do not want to see windmills alter the landscape.
Some residents have asked for my position on the wind energy proposal. I personally have no problem with expanding alternative energy sources. However, I would suggest the move toward these sources should be directed by technological advances as opposed to our current mandates.
This local project highlights the issues that will continue to surface as we move forward. I believe that it emphasizes the need for local input and local control.
As your state representative, my job is to give Goodhue County Board members all relevant information available so they can make the most informed decision for their constituents. Initially, there was some confusion as to whether the county could establish siting requirements for a wind turbine, so Rep. Steve Drazkowski and I asked for specific clarification from the Public Utilities Commission.
In short, the PUC indicated counties may adopt more stringent standards for siting wind turbines – which then must be considered by the PUC before permitting any wind energy project.
The PUC also stated that if counties crafted these new guidelines, they would not be forced to assume all permitting and regulation responsibilities for the entire wind project.
My intent to clarify the role of the County Board was not an affirmation or opposition to wind energy. I believe the proper place to have a discussion and get input on any wind project should first take place at the local level. This does not circumvent the PUC process and the commission will have the ultimate control and oversight of all projects.
As always, if you have questions or comments on this or any issue, contact me at (800) 682-1256 or email@example.com.
Tim Kelly represents Minnesota House District 28A.