Proposed Dodge County wind farm discussed at Minnesota Public Utilities Commission meeting

The public will have the chance to voice their concerns about the project next month.

Posted: Sep. 27, 2018 6:34 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission made a stop in Rochester to deliberate several items, including the application process of NextEra Energy Resources' proposed Dodge County Wind wind farm project The commission ruled that their application was complete and ready for reviewal stages.

Douglas Eayrs, a member of Dodge County Concerned Citizens, attended the meeting because he has some concerns about the project. "We don't have wind turbines like this in our county. We have some wind farms, but nothing like this. This is a very large project and it's going to change the county for many decades," he says.

Nate O'Reilly, president of Southeastern Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council attended the meeting. His organization represents local trade unions. He came to the meeting because he's interested in partnering with NextEra to utilize the local workforce. "A lot of times, developers come in to develop wind projects and we don't get to see the full economic impact to the community or the state of minnesota," he explains.  "Because, at times, they don't partner with us and they will use a largely out of state work force."

At the meeting, the commission asked if Dodge County Wind would like an advisory commission of local representatives for the project. They chose to decline.

Mike Weich, project manager of renewable development at NextEra Energy Resources, gave KIMT the following statement about the project: "We are excited to continue working with the Dodge and Steele County communities to bring home-grown, renewable energy to the area. Over the next few weeks, we will continue working with those in the community to ensure everyone is informed of the project and plans. The Dodge County Wind project can bring millions of dollars, as well as stable jobs to these counties, and we hope to see that happen."

The meeting was not open for public comment, but residents will have the chance to make their voices heard at an upcoming public hearing. It is tentatively scheduled for October 25 at the Holiday Inn in Owatonna. A public notice will be released next week once those details are finalized.

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