Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Sept. 3, 2001

Wind power is an option for residents from W-H Electric

By Lynda Jensen

Rural Howard Lake and Waverly residents may now choose to have wind power as a source of their electric power supply.

Customers who choose to participate may buy blocks of kilowatt usage from wind power that represent some or all of their energy consumption, said Sheila Knop Laplant of Wright-Hennepin Electric Cooperative Association.

For example, a home that uses about 1,000 kilowatt hours per month, the cost under the wind power program would be about $102, compared to $71 under the general service rate, Knop Laplant said. This is a $31 difference.

W-H Electric's power supplier, Great River Energy, recently expanded its wind farm in southern Minnesota, allowing more customers to sign up for the wind energy program.

Wright-Hennepin is hosting a wind power plant tour to southern Minnesota Friday, Sept. 21. A bus is being chartered and the cost is $20 per person, which includes lunch and transportation, Knop Laplant said.

Those interested in wind power or attending the tour may call (800) 943-2667.

Six new turbines are being added, creating four megawatts of additional energy that are scheduled to go online this fall, said Brent Morningstar, W-H vice president of environment and technical services. Four megawatts is enough to generate power for 4,000 homes, Knop Laplant said.

"I believe this proposed wind project would be the largest voluntary wind project in the region," commented John Dunlop, Great Plains Director of the American Wind Energy Association. All other wind energy development in the region has occurred as the result of public policy requirements.

Eventually, Great River Energy will add wind power into the main power supply for all of its customers' use, Knop Laplant said.

For now, customers may be placed on a waiting list until the wind turbines are operational, although they will not be charged until they are working.

The proposed site for the project is in southwestern Minnesota on the Buffalo Ridge, but other sites are being considered as well, due to transmission requirements.

The estimated cost of the wind power project is $21 million.

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