Today’s article in the New York Times on the changing face of Nebraska has us engaging in wind-energy trivia today. The paper points out that Nebraska has made a promotional brochure out of the fact it ranks sixth in the nation in wind energy.
Sixth? Where does Minnesota rank? Third, according to the American Wind Energy Association. It’s potential for wind energy places it at #9, however. Minnesota has about 800 wind turbines.
Texas is number one (the state is home to more than 3,000 turbines), and generates about 3-percent of its electricity via wind, according to a February 2008 New York Times story.
In Minnesota, farmers are figuring out how to make money with wind, according to the Litchfield Independent Review newspaper. A series of nine farmer-owned energy companies has kept the money generated by the turbines in the community, rather than shipping it off to a far-away power company.
The most striking change in the industry may not be so much the change to the scenic vistas of the Minnesota prairie and bluff country, but the willingness of communities to construct turbines. This week, for example, Winona County is planning to overhaul its wind and zoning laws.