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Commentary: Wind of region to build new business

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Efforts in Kandiyohi and Meeker counties are starting to bring a new industry to the region from a resource that has been blowing through for centuries.

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Willmar Municipal Utilities has completed the installation of two wind turbines just north of Willmar Senior High School.

The two new Willmar turbines, scheduled to be dedicated in early September, cost about $3.3 million each to deliver and about $1 million each to installed. The project's payback is estimated at about 13 years.

A much bigger wind project -- Lake County Wind Energy -- is developing in rural Kandiyohi and Meeker counties, largely along U.S. Highway 12.

A wind development company -- National Wind -- is collaborating with investors, landowners and community members to develop Lake Country Wind Energy. The effort hopes to build enough wind turbines to power 70,000 homes by 2014.

Lake Country Wind Energy has already leased nearly 75 percent of its projected 30,000 acres. The company plans to erect its first turbines by 2012.

The project plans to have 150 to 220 turbines lining a corridor along Highway 212 from Grove City west to Kandiyohi.

We commend both public and private efforts in developing the wind industry in Willmar, as well as Kandiyohi and Meeker counties.

These developers have bet west central Minnesota can become the next second major wind energy generation area in the state. Developing a new Buffalo Ridge on the prairies of west central Minnesota will be a good development.

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