MPUC Approves 78-MW AWA Wind Project

Minnesota state regulators have given the necessary approvals to allow development of a 78-megawatt (MW) wind project near the town of Goodhue. Development of the project is being spearheaded by the American Wind Alliance (AWA), a joint venture founded by Mesa Power Group LLC with the support of General Electric. Mesa Power Group was started by legendary energy executive T. Boone Pickens, one of the nation’s most visible proponents of renewable energy, in particular, wind energy.

The Minnesota Public Utility Commission gave AWA the go-ahead on the Goodhue initiative in a recent approval of the project’s purchase power agreement, draft site permit and its structure as a community-based project. Mesa Power, as an owner of the Goodhue wind project, is helping finance the project and is also supplying the project with 52 GE wind turbines.

The project encompasses 12,000 acres and AWA expects to award a construction contract to a Minnesota-based firm in the coming weeks with a goal of breaking ground in the fourth quarter, and delivering power by late 2011. Northern States Power Company, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy Inc., has signed an agreement to buy the project’s electricity.

AWA was formed to drive continued growth in the wind industry. To date, AWA has reached agreement on seven other wind power project transactions totaling more than 750 megawatts— four in Ontario, Canada, and one each in Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri.

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