Has wind power suddenly become less attractive for Minnesota?

MinnEcon note: My colleague Mike Caputo will soon launch a Minnesota Public Radio News page dedicated to online conversations on topics of the day. His goal: civil discussion that makes us all a little smarter.

Today, he shot me a note about wind power and the economy: How should Minnesota communities embracing wind power react to the news of big competition off the east coast?

Good question. Mike’s site will be up in a couple weeks. But you can help him get the conversation rolling by posting some thoughts below or drop us a line directly.

caputo.jpg Mike Caputo | MPR News

Here’s Mike’s post:

Work is set to go in Albert Lea on building 122 wind turbines, a project to harness wind power for energy. The Bent Tree farm is one of several being proposed for the area.

Wind power debates are also rolling In Goodhue County with about four project pending there.

But now comes the news that the Obama administration has approved offshore wind turbines in the Atlantic to power the east coast.

This could threaten Midwest wind projects, like those in Albert Lea and Goodhue County, according to the Des Moines Register’s Green Fields blog.

(O)ffshore Atlantic ocean wind energy poses a potential threat to the burgeoning wind development in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas and those states’ desire to export their surplus wind (hopefully at a profit) to more populous states east of the Mississippi River.

That sets up this question: How should Minnesota communities embracing wind power react to the news of big competition off the east coast?

Share an insight.

minnecon.smallicon.gifBonus info:

Recent MPR stories on wind energy:

>Xcel ready to build wind farm in SW Minnesota

>Minnesota slips in wind energy rankings

>Counties look to wind power for energy, income

  • Rick Guerard

    In Wisconsin we have a somewhat large windfarm in the east central part of the state.

    What many find unappealing are the long slow blades that do kill geese and other birds. There is also a bit of noise with them.

    I am not sure of the reasons that utilities go with the blade turbines over barrel turbines but the barrel turbines resolve both mentioned issues and has a smaller footprint which would allow for more to be installed in the same area. I am getting one for my property so I can go off the grid as much as possible and not be at the mercy of profit crazy utilities.

    I think back to when President Carter responded to the oil problem at that time with a program for developing alternative energy systems. President Reagan cancelled it as soon as he took office. I can’t help but wonder what might have been if that program had been allowed to continue.

  • Robyn

    This idea surprises me, and it might be just because I’m not an expert on the technology of it, but considering that wind energy is still not our primary source of electricity and is a growing industry, isn’t there plenty of demand for it? More turbines means we can phase out more coal based electricity and other environmentally hazardous sources, can’t we? Well ok, the coal industry lobbyists wouldn’t be so happy about that. But other than the political fight it would cause, would a surplus of wind energy be a bad thing? Seems like there would still be plenty of places to sell it to. I feel it should be our goal to move as quickly as we feasibly can towards using exclusively clean energy sources and eliminating unclean sources such as coal.