Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Smaller, Renewable Energy Projects Setting Roots Across West Central Minnesota

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WILLMAR, Minn. - It’s hard to miss the development of renewable energy at the University of Minnesota campus in Morris.

There are now two, 1.6-megawatt wind generators towering over the prairie and cranking out enough kilowatts to provide 60 percent of the electrical needs on campus. A heating system utilizing locally harvested biomass produces 25 percent of the thermal energy required on campus, with expectations of meeting 50 percent of needs next year.

What can be more difficult to see, but no less significant, is the growing number and variety of smaller renewable energy projects setting roots all around the region. In recent years 17 different “net metering" projects have been added by customers on the Kandiyohi Power Cooperative’s distribution grid, for example. Using small wind generators or solar photovoltaic panels, customers are producing a portion of their own electricity and selling any excess back to the grid.

Renewable energy systems of all types — from small wind generators to methane digesters — are being installed on farms, homes and businesses throughout southwestern Minnesota. Participants from throughout western Minnesota gathered recently at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center to identify the projects and to help chart the way for more.

Contact me Tradd Duggan Milehighsolar@hotmail.com whether to Network, or for possible Business opportunities with your company.

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