Coal, Gas

Lake Benton Adds 107 MW For Minnesota

Issue 6 and Volume 102.

Lake Benton Adds 107 MW For Minnesota

The Lake Benton wind project, scheduled for completion late this summer, will feature 143 turbines with a total capacity of 107 MW. The Lake Benton area in Minnesota has long been seen as an excellent wind resource site for power generation, according to Enron Wind Corp.

Lake Benton Power Partners, an Enron subsidiary, signed a contract with Northern States Power Co. in September 1996 to supply wind-generated electricity for 30 years. Groundbreaking was held in the summer of 1997, with assembly of turbines and towers starting in the fall of 1997. By late-spring 1998, 40 of the turbines were on-line.

The distance between individual turbines at the site is a minimum of 552 feet so the turbines will not deflect or de-energize the winds before they reach the other turbines. The individual footprint of each turbine is only 20 feet in diameter, so the entire hardware for the project, including transmission lines, uses only 2 percent of the 4,700-acre site. The land will continue to be used for farming. Enron notes that this is the most widely disbursed power plant in the word. It spans 14 miles along the ridgeline of Buffalo Ridge.

The project is powered by Zond Z-750 kW wind turbines. Each turbine stands approximately 257 feet tall at its highest tip and weighs 196,600 pounds. Each turbine has three 76 foot blades, weighing 5,566 pounds each. The rotor diameter of the assembled turbine is 157 feet, approximately the same as the wingspan of a DC-10 airplane.

The towers are 168 feet tall and weigh approximately 125,000 pounds.

Circle 132