Winona County Wind Turbines
Mt Vernon Township off County Road 31
To See the Turbines
The turbines can best be seen from the highway south of the intersection of county roads 28 and 31. You can also see them from the Pork & Plants Heritage farm by looking East. Do not drive or walk to the base of the turbines for your safety.
2 - 750 kW Unison Wind Turbines
Installed Dec 2011
Currently Owned by private investors, Winona County has the option
to buy these turbines at fair market value in 2017
Power delivered for use by citizens in Altura
History of the Wind Turbines
The twin turbines located on Oak Ridge in Mt. Vernon Township
are a result of Winona County’s effort to demonstrate the viability of wind
generation in areas of moderate wind speeds. By 2005 the value of wind had
been proven in high wind areas like the Buffalo Ridge in southwest Minnesota,
but there was uncertainty as to its value in Winona County. Developed by
Juhl Wind LLC and commissioned in December 2011, the turbines have been
producing power for 18 months at close to 30% capacity, which is right in line
Of special note is the variable speed, direct-drive technology utilized in the Unison turbines, which renders unnecessary the horizontal nacelle seen atop other turbines. These direct-drive turbines, the first mid-sized direct drive turbines in the U.S., perform well in areas of lower wind speeds and are expected to result in lower maintenance costs as well.
The project location was determined by considerations of wind speed, utility service area, proximity to a substation, and potential avian impact. Of all utilities serving the area, Xcel Energy had the most experience with adding wind generation to their system, so areas with the best wind speeds in the Xcel service area were the starting point. After reviewing affects on raptors, and once Xcel’s engineering study determined that their distribution lines were capable of handling the intermittent power generated by the turbines, the site met all the key criteria.