Minnesota’s innovative community-based wind model

Suzlon Wind Energy Corp., the North American subsidiary of Suzlon Energy Limited (SEL) – the world’s third largest wind turbine group, with 12.3 per cent of global wind power market share – announced a new order for the community-based Grant County Wind Farm in southwestern Minnesota, USA. Developed by Juhl Wind (Juhl) of Woodstock, Minn., the project consists of 10 Suzlon S88 wind turbines and at full capacity will produce 20 megawatts, enough wind energy to power 7,000 homes in the area.

The Grant County Wind Farm is a Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) project and is partially owned by local farmers. C-BED is an initiative in Minnesota that fosters the development of renewable energy by optimizing local and regional agricultural and economic resources. This often allows for interconnection of smaller renewable energy systems to the larger power grid and cost-sharing, creating a stable market for renewable energy.

"We’re excited to be a part of this community-run project to help generate clean wind power and revenue for farmers and towns in the region," said Andris Cukurs, CEO of Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. "Currently, community-run wind power projects are rare in the U.S., but the Grant County project is proof that renewable energy can be actualized in a variety of ways."

The project is interconnected with Otter Tail Power Company, and Northern States Power (NSP) is purchasing the clean energy. The Grant County Wind Farm will join Otter Tail’s existing 45 megawatts of renewable energy on the grid, while NSP – a leading electric utility company – will offer the electricity to its service territory spread across the northern states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

"Once again, we are happy to partner with Suzlon and Minnesota farmers on wind energy development, and expanding to Grant County," said Dan Juhl, CEO of Juhl Wind, which was Suzlon’s first customer in the U.S. "Community wind farms help farmers diversify their revenue streams while producing renewable energy for the local area. We have worked with Suzlon for several years now and have been pleased with the partnership in bringing Suzlon machines to Minnesota communities desiring a sustainable power supply."

"The Grant County Wind Farm is a great example of a community-led initiative for renewable energy," said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. "The perks of wind power aren’t exclusive to developers and utilities alone; this project shows how citizens can save money and be more energy efficient through their own renewable energy projects."

Construction on the site has already begun. The wind farm is expected to be in commercial operation in the first quarter of 2010.

Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation focuses on the North American market and is a subsidiary of Suzlon Energy Limited, India. The headquarters for North America is based in Chicago, Illinois. Sales and service offices are located throughout the U.S.

Suzlon Energy Limited ranked as the world’s third leading wind turbine supplier in terms of market share in 2008. Suzlon has ranked as the leading manufacturer in the Indian market for ten consecutive years, maintaining over 50 per cent market share. Suzlon has its corporate offices in Pune, India and the company’s global spread is reflected in its projects and markets portfolio – extending across Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America. Suzlon is a highly vertically integrated wind turbine manufacturer with manufacturing capability along the full value chain – from components to complete wind turbine systems. For more information on Suzlon, please visit: www.suzlon.com.

Suzlon and REpower, taken together, stand as the world’s third leading wind turbine supplier group in terms of market share. Market share of 12.3 per cent is derived from BTM Consult ApS World Market Update 2008, ranking Suzlon with 9 per cent of global market share and REpower with 3.3 per cent of global market share.