The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has voted 2-1 to deny approval of the avian and bat protection plan submitted by AWA Goodhue LLC, the developer of the proposed 78 MW Goodhue Wind project.
After reviewing the record relating to the proposed plan, including agency comments and public testimony, the commissioners raised several concerns about the adequacy of the information in the plan presented by AWA Goodhue.
Although the PUC did not approve the plan, the commission said AWA may resubmit a new plan once the inadequacies identified by the commission have been addressed.
The PUC granted a site permit for the wind project by an order dated Aug. 23, 2011. Among the several conditions contained in that permit is a requirement that AWA Goodhue develop an avian and bat protection plan in consultation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The plan needed to be submitted to the commission for approval prior to construction.
The Goodhue Wind project is an undertaking by AWA Goodhue LLC to build a 50-turbine, 78 MW wind facility in Goodhue County, Minnesota. The project encompasses an area of approximately 32,700 acres located just west of the city of Goodhue in the townships of Belle Creek, Goodhue, Minneola, Vasa, and Zumbrota. Energy produced by the facility is anticipated to be sold to Xcel Energy.
Final written orders formally documenting the PUC's decisions will be issued within a few weeks. The order will be filed in docket IP6701/WS-08-1233, which is available on the PUC's website via its e-dockets system.