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Wind farm project

Invenergy plans to include rural Worth County in a $320 million wind farm. The Chicago-based company announced this week it will place 100 turbines in an area from northeast of Northwood into Freeborn County, Minnesota.

NORTHWOOD | A Chicago-based wind developer is speaking with Worth County landowners to secure leases for a portion of a proposed $320 million wind farm.

Invenergy recently announced plans to spread 100 wind turbines between Freeborn County, Minnesota, and in Worth County. Called the Freeborn Wind Farm, the proposed project would provide power to Xcel Energy customers in Minnesota.

Each of the farm's 265-foot-tall turbines would be capable of producing 2 megawatts of power per hour. 

Officials haven’t decided how many of the 100 turbines will be placed in Minnesota and how many will be in Iowa, said Dan Litchfield, senior manager of project development for Invenergy.

Those that are located in Iowa would be north and east of Northwood in Grove and Deer Creek townships.

"It is primarily planned in Freeborn County, Minnesota, and that has been the plan all along, but for various reasons we've decided to look at extending the project into northern Worth County," he said. 

Representatives from Invenergy shared project details with the Worth County Board of Supervisors earlier this week. No action was taken.

Currently, 229 turbines are in operation in Worth County. 

The largest development, Northern Iowa Windpower, has 129 turbines in Bristol, Fertile, Danville and Brookfield townships, according to the Worth County Assessor's Office. 

The second-largest is Barton Windpower's 80-turbine development, which is south of Highway 105 in Barton Township.

Wind farms provide a significant source of revenue for Worth County, both during their construction and in annual taxes, said Teresa Nicholson, executive director of economic development agency Winn-Worth-Betco. 

"Any investment in renewable energy is always a good thing," she said. 

The timeline for Freeborn Wind Farm calls for construction to begin in late 2018, after permitting is completed, with completion in 2020.

Additional information is available on the project's website, www.freeborncountywind.com.

The Freeborn Wind Farm is one of two wind energy developments announced this year in North Iowa.

In July, Alliant Energy announced a $1 billion expansion of Whispering Willow Wind Farm in Franklin County.

A public meeting on the Whispering Willow expansion is slated for 3:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Franklin County Convention Center, 1008 Central Avenue West, Hampton.

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