Company Proposes Building 71 Wind Turbines in Dodge County at a Whopping $4.3 Million A Pop

NextEra Energy is seeking to build 71 wind turbines in Dodge County, Minnesota. The turbines would have a maximum capacity of up to 170 megawatts. Each turbine will be up to 88 meters tall from the ground to the hub in the center of the blades.

The project is expected to cost around $300 million. Or roughly $4.3 million per wind turbine.

This is an extraordinary amount of money, especially because wind turbines generally last for only 20 years before they need to be replaced or “repowered.” Minnesota already has enough ability to generate the electricity we need, which means these wind turbines are not necessary to meet customer demand. They exist only to meet political renewable energy mandates.

However, even if we did need more electricity generation capability, our money would be better spent on natural gas, coal, or nuclear plants because these power plants can easily produce energy for 40 to 50 years.

But what about jobs?

Environmental groups often crow about the fact that renewable energy generates jobs, but their number estimates rarely talk about the fact that most of these jobs are temporary construction jobs. The proposed wind project in Dodge County would create about 200 construction jobs to complete the project. Once the turbines are operational, up to 12 full-time jobs would be created.

If environmental groups criticize pipelines because most of the jobs come during the construction phase, then wind and solar should have to withstand similar criticisms.

Wind energy is expensive energy, and spending $15 billion building wind turbines and transmission lines is a major reason why Minnesota’s electricity prices have increased 26 percent faster than the national average since 2007, when the first renewable energy mandate was signed into law. 

One thing Minnesota desperately needs is to change the way projects like these are evaluated by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which will ultimately decide whether this wind farm can be built.

Presently, if a company wants to build a natural gas plant, for example, they must demonstrate that the plant is needed to meet electricity demand in order to be granted a Certificate of Need. If the PUC determines the plant is not needed, it cannot be built.

Wind and solar, however, do not have to play by the same rules. The PUC simply determines whether wind or solar installations are needed to fulfill renewable energy mandates, not whether they are actually needed for consumers. This must change if Minnesota will start to reverse the trend of skyrocketing electricity prices and return to sanity.

Learn more about the high cost of wind power at