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Location: Dexter, Minn. The wind farm spans a stretch of farm fields six miles long and four miles wide, and is spread out over roughly 10,000 acres southeast of Interstate 90 three miles north and three miles south of Hwy 16, in Grand Meadow, Clayton, and Dexter Townships in Mower County.
Plant Description: Grand Meadow is a 67-unit wind farm consisting of GE 1.5 SLE turbines.
Power Production Capability: 1.5 MW each for a total of 100.5 MW.
Fuel Sources: Wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft through a gearbox that connects to a generator, which produces electricity. The three blades rotate (pitch) from 0 to 90 degrees allowing the power output to be controlled if desired. The amount of electricity generated is determined by the wind speed:
Minimum (0.1 MW): 7.8 mph (3.5 m/s)
Design (1.5 MW): 31.3 mph (14 m/s)
Maximum (1.5 MW): 55.9 mph (25 m/s)
The project was developed by enXco and constructed by Mortenson Construction in 2008. In December 2008 the wind farm became fully operational and was turned over to Xcel Energy.
For the fourth consecutive year the American Wind Energy Association ranked Xcel Energy the nation's No. 1 wind power provider among investor-owned utilities. The ranking is included in the American Wind Energy Association Annual Wind Industry Report for 2008. Of the nation's more than 25,300 megawatts of wind energy, Xcel Energy owns or purchases almost 3,000 megawatts of capacity online. Colorado was ranked sixth with 1,068 megawatts. Minnesota ranks first in the country with more than 7 percent of the state's power coming from wind energy.
The full annual rankings report is available: American Wind Energy Association Annual Rankings Report (333 KB PDF)
In Minnesota we will need to add between 3,000 and 3,400 megawatts of new wind capacity by 2020 to meet the 2007 Renewable Energy Standard.
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