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Turbines for ethanol plant OK’d

By Staff | Jul 30, 2008

The flag in the top center of the above photo marks one of seven sites where wind turbines will be placed to generate power for the Superior Ethanol plant. Iowa Lakes Electric Co-op is doing the project, along with a similar one for the Lakota ethanol plant, both the first of their kind in the nation. EDN photo by Michael Tidemann

SPIRIT LAKE – By a 4-1 vote, the Dickinson County Board of Adjustment Monday night approved a conditional use permit that will allow Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative to build seven wind turbines to power the Superior Ethanol Plant.

Approval came after a sometimes contentious public hearing in the Dickinson County Courthouse Community Room with over 100 attending.

Steve Eral, whose house is just over 1,000 feet from one of the turbines, had concerns over noise and other issues.

After discussion, Board Chair Don Oleson cast the lone no vote against approval, despite the fact that the turbine to which Eral objected was further than the minimum 1,000 distance required by the conditional use permit.

Following are the conditions tied to the permit:

n Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) to be placed 1,000 feet from any occupied buildings.

n Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) to be placed 500 feet from any unoccupied buildings.

n Wind Energy Conversion Systems (WECS) to be placed 400 feet from the public road right-of-way in the event of a fall down.

n Wind Energy Conversion System (WECS) to be placed to minimize disruption to the landowner.

n Any substantiated interference with electronic devices such as two-way radio, telephone, or T.V. reception or Internet would be remedied by Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative.

n In the event of abandonment of Wind Energy conversion System (WECS), Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative will be responsible for dismantling and returning property to its original use.

n The conditional use permit is good as long as it us used as a Wind Energy Conversion System (WECS) as defined in Dickinson County Zoning Ordinance 102, Article 3, Section B.37.

n Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative will remedy any adverse effect on any duly established drainage district.

n Costs of repair of damage to county roads or right-of-way resulting from the construction phase of this project shall be the responsibility of the applicant.

n No signage on tower or blades other than a 911 sign at the end of the road.

n Financial commitment for training of EMS as it concerns wind energy.

Rick Olesen, vice president of operations and engineering, noted that the Superior Ethanol plant is the second plant in which Iowa Lakes Electric Co-op is using seven 1.5 megawatt GE turbines for power. The other plant is at Lakota.

While three property owners objected to the project located in Sections 28 and 33 in Superior Township on the Huntoon Farms Ltd. property west and north of Superior, there were many in favor.

“It’s going to be a real exciting, groundbreaking project,” Olesen said. “It’s the first of its kind in the nation. Literally all the power generated can be consumed on site.”

Selecting the site was not easy, Olesen said. First a number of wind studies needed to be done plus the sites had to be at least 400 feet from each property line. There also had to be soil analyses done before foundations could be laid.