Minnesota project features low-wind-speed turbines

A new wind project in Minnesota will feature low-wind-speed turbines, potentially bringing the resource to expanded areas across the country.

The 36-MW Big Blue Wind Farm will feature Gamesa Technology’s newest turbine model designed specifically for low-wind sites. Exergy Development Group will install 18 Gamesa turbines on 78-meter towers.

The companies say Gamesa’s G97-2.0 MW Class IIIA turbine has nacelle enhancements and a newer, more aerodynamic blade design that optimizes energy output. Areas with lower wind speeds are unsuitable for developments, so the new model makes wind energy generation possible in more locations.

The Big Blue Wind Farm is in the city of Blue Earth, located in south-central Minnesota’s Faribault County. The county is located along the Minnesota border with Iowa, making it one of the richest wind areas in the country. Minnesota is among the top six states, with nearly 3,000 MW of installed capacity. This is the first commercial wind farm to be built in Faribault County.

This is also Gamesa’s first wind project with Exergy.

“This is a new collaboration that brings Gamesa’s innovative wind turbine technology into Exergy’s expanding renewable energy development portfolio, and it enables us to showcase a new turbine model that can increase the potential for wind development across the United States,” said David Rosenberg, vice president of marketing for Gamesa North America.

“The G97 is a very efficient turbine and perfect for this site. We are excited to be working with Gamesa and look forward to having the turbines installed and fulfilling our mission to provide wind energy to the Blue Earth community,” said Exergy’s Dustin Shively, Lead Project Engineer on the Big Blue Project.

The construction for the project will create approximately 60 jobs locally and is already under way. Exergy recently finished building the roads and foundations. Gamesa is handling the logistics and installation of the turbines, with nacelles, blades towers and rotors set for delivery in September.

Upon completion, the wind farm will be owned by Exergy’s subsidiary, Big Blue Wind Farm, LLC. Xcel (NYSE: XEL) subsidiary Northern States Power will purchase the electricity, which is enough to power about 20,000 homes per year.

The wind farm will be completed and operational by the end of the year.