Prairie Star Wind Farm has an installed capacity of 100.65 megawatts (MW) — enough to power approximately 32,000 average Minnesota homes.
Prairie Star Wind Farm yields significant economic benefits to the community in the form of payments to landowners, local spending, and annual community investment.
Prairie Star represents a capital investment of approximately $221 million and has disbursed $3.3 million in cumulative payments to local governments through 2019. The project created 114 full-time equivalent jobs during construction as well as 44 permanent jobs. Through 2019, approximately $15.3 million has been spent within 50 miles of the wind farm.
Prairie Star Wind Farm saves more than 178 million gallons of water each year and displaces carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants, a major contributor to climate change. Wind energy also enhances air quality by helping to mitigate the health effects of harmful air pollutants.
Prairie Star Wind Farm is compatible with other land uses and provides a stable form of income to local landowners. More than $9.1 million has been paid to the wind farm’s landowners through 2019. These supportive landowners participate in long-term lease and easement agreements that cover turbines, access roads, and transmission corridors.
Modern wind turbine generators are sophisticated, high-tech machines designed to capture the kinetic energy of the wind and convert it into electricity. A turbine’s blades capture the wind and rotate an internal shaft connected to a gearbox spinning a generator to produce electricity. Tubular steel towers support a hub with three attached blades and a nacelle, which houses the shaft, gearbox, generator, and controls. Wind measurements are collected to automatically rotate the turbine to face the strongest wind and angle, or “pitch,” its blades to optimize the energy captured. Electricity must be produced at just the right frequency and voltage to be compatible with the utility grid.
Prairie Star Wind Farm consists of 61 Vestas V82 1.65 MW wind turbines.