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Wind energy project officially dead in Goodhue County

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A controversial wind farm proposed in Goodhue County is officially off the table after developers faced strong opposition from residents over the last five years.

The Associated Press reported New Era Wind Farm LLC notified the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in a letter dated Sept. 6 that it no longer intends to develop a 48-turbine farm near Zumbrota.

Minnesota Public Radio has a copy of the letter.

A major area of concern was the threat to wildlife in the area, especially eagles and bats.

The project was among the first to seek a federal permit that would have allowed the legal killing of a limited number of eagles per year, the Associated Press said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated the proposed wind farm could have killed up to 15 bald eagles every year.

Residents also raised concerns over safety, noise and shadow flicker from turbine blades intermittently blocking sunlight, MPR said.

New Era's proposal also lost its agreement with Xcel Energy, who had been previously interested in buying power from the wind farm.

Developers have spent more than $15 million seeking state permits since for the project since 2008 while opponents have spent six figures fighting it, according to the Post-Bulletin.

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