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Public meeting tonight for proposed wind farm project in region

A public meeting will be held at 6:30 tonight at the Galaxie Supper Club in Barnesville, Minn., regarding a wind farm proposed for rural Clay County and parts of Becker and Otter Tail counties.

Project Resources Corp. of Minneapolis, the developer of the Lakeswind Power Plant, will host an open house prior to the meeting, starting at 5:30 p.m.

The wind farm would generate up to 60 megawatts of electricity using up to 37 wind towers, though the number of towers will likely be closer to 25, said Paul White, president of Project Resources Corp.

White spoke Tuesday at a meeting of the Clay County Commission.

The board also heard from representatives of the Minnesota Office of Energy Security, the agency that is hosting tonight's meeting and which will make recommendations to the state Public Utilities Commission on whether a permit should be issued.

Minnesota has permitted more than 20 wind farms, according to Larry Hartman, an Office of Energy Security spokesman.

Hartman said the question in the past has always been: How fast can we put them up?

Now, he said, more questions are cropping up about whether wind turbines might pose health risks from things such as low-frequency hum.

Hartman said the Minnesota Department of Health will soon issue a "white paper" on the possible effects of wind turbines on health.

A major purpose of the permitting process is to protect the wind rights of landowners participating in a project as well as those who don't, according to the Office of Energy Security.