Published May 1, 2006 | May 2006 issue
The state has long known about the wind-power capacity of Buffalo Ridge in the southwestern part of the state. But more recent analysis suggests the state has more wind potential than originally believed.
Existing wind maps show that virtually the entire eastern one-third of the state already shows promise, particularly for small developments among individual landowners, something the state has been promoting in rural areas.
But according to preliminary results of a state-commissioned report produced by WindLogics of St. Paul, the state has more robust winds that might support larger, more commercial developments, and also offer a better business model for small-scale projects. The new figures are based on better modeling than previous estimates. Wind velocity increases with height, for example, and modelers measured wind speed at 80 meters—the average height of today's turbines—instead of the previous standard of 70 meters.
—Ronald A. Wirtz