By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
At a special informational meeting Wednesday, Royalton City Council members heard about wind energy options available through a new company from Chaska, SheerWind. Mayor Andrea Lauer and Council Member Al Libke had previously visited SheerWind’s site.
“A funnel is installed above ground which gathers the wind and channels it to the generator underground,” said SheerWind founder Dr. Daryoush Allaei. “One collection funnel can generate anywhere from one-half to seven megawatts.”
The Council hosted a preliminary discussion to consider possibly using wind energy for power generation.
“I saw the company mentioned online and e-mailed them asking for more information,” said Lauer.
SheerWind turns wind power on its head by taking the blades and turbines out of the sky and placing them at ground level. Invelox technology reduces the cost of generated electrical power by 16 to 38 percent with three times greater performance on 50 percent shorter towers placed on 90 percent less acreage. It is operated and maintained at approximately 40 percent lower costs, and uses 84 percent shorter turbine blades than traditional wind power generation systems. As a result, SheerWind won the Sustainability Award in the 2011 Cleantech Open – North Central Region.
Executive Director of Community Development of Morrison County, Carol Anderson said to the Council, “Your best bet is to collect the wind power and sell it to a power company.”
This is not the first time Royalton has broken ground in Morrison County by trying new technology. A 7.5 kilowatt system of solar panels is operating on the roof of city hall.
“Royalton is a participant in the GreenStep Cities program,” said Lauer. “It is a volunteer program to make our city green, partly by using renewable energy.”
Minnesota GreenStep Cities is a voluntary challenge, assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their sustainability and quality of life goals. This free program, managed by a public-private partnership, is based upon 28 best practices. Actions taken are tailored to each city and focus on cost savings and energy use reduction, encouraging civic innovation.