PUC delays decision on Goodhue WindST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission today sent Goodhue Wind's proposal back to an administrative law judge, effectively delaying a decision for several months.
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Thursday sent Goodhue Wind's proposal back to an administrative law judge, effectively delaying a decision on the 78-megawatt project for several months.
The reason, PUC board members said, is to allow due diligence on Goodhue County's recently passed ordinance regulating large-scale wind developments.
State officials said they want to determine if the science and reasoning behind the county ordinance is sound.
“I think we are simply going to have to be more deliberate on this,” said commissioner Dennis O’Brien.
The PUC handed down the delay in a 4-1 vote late Thursday afternoon following a full day of public testimony that started with state and county officials.
An administrative law judge will now hold another public hearing and an “evidentiary forum” before sending an opinion on the project back to the commission for a final vote -- a process that PUC officials estimate will take around six months.
National Wind senior wind developer Chuck Burdick said he had “grave concerns” about that time frame, arguing that it will jeopardize federal grant money for the project and further push back a development schedule that has already faced delays as regulators deliberate over the project.
“We don’t know what more research has to be developed,” he said.
A last-minute effort by National Wind attorney Todd Guerrero to set a deadline on a decision by the end of the year was denied.
Opponents of the project, meanwhile, celebrated the delay. Goodhue Wind Truth member Steve Groth said it was an example of the group’s persistence paying off.
“Anytime you can slow it down, it’s a victory,” he said.
Look to Saturday's edition of the R-E for the full story.