Even if the T. Boone Pickens-promoted Goodhue wind farm didn’t kill a single bird or bat( State delays Minnesota wind project), the project would not make economic sense for Minnesota. It was aptly described by the area’s U.S. Rep. John Kline, who said, “This is a wind energy project Goodhue County citizens don’t want, funded by taxpayer money the federal government doesn’t have.” A Minnesota Republican siding with the residents in his district. Kline is one of those pressing to end the 1603 grant program that could provide the project more than $50 million in taxpayer subsidies.
Goodhue Wind LLC is proposing to install wind turbines with a total name plate capacity of 78 megawatts (MW) in Goodhue County, Minn. At the U.S. average 27 percent wind farm capacity factor, that project will provide perhaps an intermittent 20-25 MW when the wind is blowing. The nearby Excel Energy Prairie Island nuclear plant produces more than 50 times that much continuous electric power with a 90 percent capacity factor.
Residents’ concerns also include the noise from the turbine blades. A setback of at least one mile (5280 feet), the recommendation of the World Health Organization, is needed for relief from the repetitive low frequency sound. The offer of Goodhue Wind LLC to “voluntarily provide a ‘generous’ 1,500 feet setback from non-participating residences” will not soothe Goodhue County residents.
In July of 2008, oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens announced a grand plan to cover the U.S. midwest with wind turbines, including $1.5 billon worth ordered from General Electric. Today that plan is canceled, and some of that turbine order is being off loaded to wind projects such as the one Picken’s Mesa Corporation is proposing in Goodhue County. Thanks to the eagles we can pass on this one.