TOUR GUIDE NOTES…
The windiest place in Minnesota is in the southwest corner along the 60-mile long, 2000-feet-high Buffalo Ridge over which winds from the Great Plains rotate 600 of the state’s 2500 giant wind turbines.
Winds there average 15-mph, with 40-mph gusts common, making it one of the windiest places in the U.S. Buffalo Ridge provides more high-grade wind resources than the entire state of California.
Would your group like a free wind turbine tour? Former Minnesota Secretary of Agriculture, Jim Nichols, offers tours of the turbine on his farm atop that ridge near Lake Benton. He served in the 1980s, under then-Governor Rudy Perpich, during which time he was an early proponent of wind energy development, so he can tell you stories of its beginnings and evolution.
In 1994, the state’s first modern wind turbine was installed near his 500-acre farm. It marked the beginning of a clean-energy revolution in the Midwest, which today provides 19% of our state’s energy needs, a steadily growing percentage.
The advantages of wind power are substantial. It is clean, free once the tower is up, provides added income for host farms, and it keeps more money in the local and state economy.
Come see these wonders of technology. Stand near one and listen to the gentle “swoosh, swoosh, swoosh” of its massive blades as they “harvest the wind.”
The Museum and Wind Power Learning Center in Lake Benton calls its town “The Original Wind Power Capital of the Midwest.” Be sure to visit the museum as part of your tour. Tours of Jim Nichols’ wind turbine can be arranged through the Museum via the below link.
** As a bonus, ask Jim how he attained the state’s top corn yield of 316 bushels per acre (with his daughter’s help).
by Doug Rosenquist, Retired Tour Guide, Twin Cities Tours