About The Project
Invenergy began development of the Freeborn Wind Farm in 2008 with initial outreach to landowners. The project is currently contracted with Xcel Energy with the goal to begin construction in 2020. Invenergy will continue to develop the project and obtain all necessary approvals, and Xcel Energy will be the builder, owner, and operator of the Freeborn Wind Farm.
Currently, our efforts are largely focused on obtaining all necessary federal, state, and local permits to allow for the projects construction and ultimate operations.
The Freeborn Wind Farm requested that the Minnesota Public Utility Commission refer our permit application to the Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”) for a contested case. While the issues raised in the initial comments are not unique to the Freeborn Wind Farm project, nor new to the Commission, we believe that a contested case will provide an efficient process and result in a robust record for the Commission, given the broad participation likely in this case. You can reference the MN Department of Commerce e-Docket website to view comments that have been submitted. To do so, click here and enter the following in the Basic Search criteria box: 2017 (year), 410 (docket number)
Freeborn Wind Farm will pay more than $3.5 million dollars in property taxes, lease payments annually to landowners, salaries to employees, and payments for local goods and services, resulting in a significant increase in economic activity in Freeborn County and Worth County. Local schools, businesses, and county infrastructure will benefit from the increase in tax revenue.
Minnesota & Iowa are national leaders in wind power generation
In 2016, wind power generated over 17 percent of Minnesota's electricity, ranking sixth in the nation for wind energy as a share of total electricity generation. The state has also been successful in attracting investment for energy manufacturing and large wind energy projects, with at least 20 active manufacturing facilities in the state.
35.8% of the electricity in Iowa is generated by wind - which represents the highest share of wind power generation of any state. Iowa also ranks 2nd in the nation for installed wind generation capacity. Iowans' electricity bills have remained well below the national average due to this abundance of wind energy. And Iowa's robust wind industry contributes greatly to the economy - to date, the wind industry has invested more than $11 billion into the Iowa economy.
The Freeborn Wind Farm is an unparalleled development opportunity for Freeborn County and Worth County, with millions to be invested in the local economies over the life of the project. We selected the project area after intense and careful evaluation due to the project area's:
We take our commitment to our local host communities seriously and look forward to continuing to work closely with Freeborn County and Worth County; contributing to the area's economic development and to providing an additional supply of clean, homegrown energy for Minnesota.
To avoid and minimize impacts to wildlife and other natural resources, we work with state and federal agencies, as well as other interested stakeholders to site, build, and operate our facilities responsibly. The cornerstone of that effort is our commitment to act in accordance with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines, which includes robust pre-construction wildlife and habitat surveys, early and often communication with wildlife agencies, and operational monitoring to ensure risk to wildlife is minimized. Great consideration is given of local geography, seasonable bird abundances, and the species present in the project area.
As required by Freeborn County and Worth County, all roads and infrastructure will be left in the same or better condition than they were prior to their use for the construction or on-going maintenance and repair of the Freeborn Wind Farm. Repairs will be completed at no cost to either Freeborn or Worth County.
Freeborn County requires the creation of a Decommissioning Plan and accompanying fund for use in the unlikely event that a wind project must be taken down before the end of its useful life. The establishment of a decommissioning fund ensures that the cost of decommissioning the project would never be borne by the Counties or landowners.