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Second wind turbine at U of MN Morris may be ready to run early in 2011

A second wind turbine, about 10 feet higher than the first erected in Morris in 2005, will be built near Pomme de Terre Park in January.

The University of Minnesota, Morris' planned second wind turbine will allow campus officials to predict fairly accurately what energy costs will be for the next 15 years.

Lowell Rasmussen, UMM's Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Facilities, said the second turbine could be constructed by the end of January.

Rasmussen met with the Stevens County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to review the project.

The new turbine will be located near Pomme de Terre Park and will be about 10 feet higher than the existing turbine at the West Central Research and Outreach Center.

With the campus producing most of its own power, the university will be able to keep its costs lower, Rasmussen said.

The university was attempting to use low-interest renewable energy bonds to finance the project, but turbines were not available for purchase because of high demand, and invester interest in the bonds was low, Rasmussen said.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents approved bonding for the approximately $4 million project last month.

The new turbine will increase energy production for UMM to about 70 percent, and some of the power will be sold onto power grids to help finance the project.

Rasmussen said UMM also is studying the potential for private-public partnerships, if appropriate. Rasmussen mentioned K-12 schools and other universities as potential partners.

"People have said, 'I don't want to donate but I may want to invest,' " Rasmussen said. "It's an interesting question."


The Morris Sun Tribune and the Echo Press are Forum Communications Company newspapers.