Wind energy is a big thing in southern Minnesota, and it could be getting bigger in Freeborn County.
The Freeborn County Wind Energy Project would bring 100 wind turbines to Freeborn County in southern Minnesota and Worth County in northern Iowa. It would be built on 40-thousand-acres just east of Glenville. Advocates say the project will benefit Freeborn County economically in many ways.
"It's anticipated that this wind farm, the Freeborn Wind Farm, would bring in three-point-five to four-million-dollars annually into the local economy," says Mariah Lynne, consultant with the project, "Over the project life, as described in our permit application, we would have over 70-million in landowner payments. Just landowner payments. And it also brings in a lot of economics when it comes to the construction phase. "
It's estimated around 200 construction workers would have jobs during the 18-month building process. Turbines have already been approved in Worth County, Iowa on the county level. Right now, project leaders are awaiting a decision from the Minnesota Public Utility Commission on the final permit for the project.
"We have a permit application in right now that details the studies that have been done and the legwork that's been done in the development of this," Lynne explains. "and also what the intention is during operation. "
A public hearing will happen at a later date in Albert Lea regarding the project. Consultants spoke to the Albert Lea city council Thursday night to give an overview of what the community can expect. A permit decision is expected from the Minnesota Public Utility Commission in June.