A proposed wind turbine and solar power array about a mile away from Pelican Lake has some people in the area concerned about athstetics, since the tower will be visible from the lake.
The Lake Region Community Hybrid project is a small SolarWind Hybrid project that is being developed by Juhl Energy Development, Inc. in cooperation with Lake Region Electric Cooperative.
The sustainable energy unit is proposed to be built in Dunn Township, a little over a mile south of Broadwater Beach on Pelican Lake, after it was shot down earlier this month by adjoining Scambler Township, which had concerns about the Pelican Rapids Airport.
In an anonymous website (Pelican Lake (MN) 500' Wind Tower Project) opponents of the project accuse the Dunn Township Board of aiming to rush the project through, with less than two weeks between its Dec. 11 proposal and potential adoption on Dec. 20.
The chairman of the town board (David L. Johnson) will recuse himself from the vote because the project will be built on an abandoned gravel pit on his property, and another town board member (Charles C. Kvare) also will recuse himself, because it's a Lake Region Electric Cooperative project, and he sits on Lake Region's board of directors.
Opponents say that the remaining three voting members of the Dunn Town Board can't help but be influenced by the two abstaining members.
Johnson and Kvare could not be reached for comment, but Dunn Town Board member Ross Herseth said the town board will make its decision based on the merits of the proposal.
"We have not approved anything yet," he said. Although the opposition website shows a half-dozen wind towers looming over Pelican Lake, he said only one tower would be built.
"It will be an array of solar panels and one wind tower, there are no plans for more," he said.
The town board heard the proposal Monday evening.
"It's kind of interesting," he said. "Wind power is becoming kind of an off-peak vehicle to keep your sustainable energy (flowing) all the time, since wind power tends to pick up when solar power dies down."
The tower will be the same or similar to wind towers now operating in the Rollag area, he said. The project will save Lake Region about $120,000 a year in energy costs that the co-op would otherwise be purchasing somewhere else, he said.
At the Monday evening town board meeting, "almost everybody who came was opposed," he said. "For many reasons, it appears many people don't want it-they don't want to look at it."
The original site was in Scambler Township, he added, and the town board there "rejected it before it even reached the hearing stage."
The Dunn Town Board will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at the town hall to hear a report on the project from Juhl Energy Inc. and to get feedback from the public, Herseth said. It's not true that the public won't be allowed to speak at the meeting, he said.
A special town board meeting will be held Dec. 20 to consider whether to proceed with the project. Herseth wasn't sure, but believes it, too, will be held at 7 p.m. at the town hall.
The project will use the latest technology from General Electric, including its Wind Integrated Solar Energy system, which allows solar energy to be converted or curtailed via the same inverter and control system used by the turbine.
Lake Region Electric will buy sustainable power from the project and have the option to eventually own it.