homepage logo


FC Board wants lines underground

By Staff | May 9, 2011

Greg Young

Faribault County commissioners all support the Big Blue Wind Farm proposed in Jo Daviess Township.

However, there was disagreement at the board’s Tuesday meeting whether a letter making three requests should be sent to a state official.

“The people overwhelmingly want this project and they want the lines buried,” says District 2 Commissioner Greg Young, who represents the area where the 36 megawatt project will be located.

“For my people, appearance and safety are big issues,” adds Young.

The letter was drafted by Michele Stindtman of the Faribault County Soil & Water Conservation Office and presented to the commissioners for approval.

Sent to Ingrid Bjorklund — state permit manager for the Minnesota Office of Energy Security — the letter asks that she consider the following three items before issuing a permit:

• all feeder lines be buried, where feasible;

• should Exergy intend to conduct operations in the highway right-of-way, it will be required to obtain the necessary permits, including utility permits;

• a development agreement and other pertinent agreements with the county be required for the project.

While the state has final say on whether a permit is issued, Stindtman says county officials should go on record saying what they would like to see done.

Commissioner Tom Loveall says buried lines may require more expensive maintenance and can be harder to find if they need to be repaired.

“I’d hate to see the project not happening,” says Loveall.

Young and the other commissioners agreed with Loveall that the project will generate substantial revenue for the county.

Young and Commissioner John Roper voted in favor of sending the letter, while Loveall and Commissioner Bill Groskreutz voted against.

Board chairman Tom Warmka cast the deciding vote to send the letter.

To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.