The use of wind as an energy resource is not a new concept, but new technology has made manipulating the wind to create electricity possible for more people, and some of that technology is now on display at the Gary and Pat Kranz farm in rural Morgan.
The success of the Kranz wind turbine, which was erected by Renewable Energy SD, LLC. of Excelsior, has made it a model for others who may be considering the idea. An open house was held at the Kranz farm earlier this month, and according to Perry Wyatt of Renewable Energy SD, there is a lot of interest.
What makes the turbine erected on the Kranz farm different?
According to Wyatt, it is all about the business model that includes installation of a 160-foot tall turbine on a three-legged tower of the company’s design that allows for the turbine to harness the best wind available.
The turbine itself is a 39.9 megawatt system that utilizes a variable frequency generator rather than a gear box, which means less maintenance is required.
When one is working on a turbine that is 150 feet in the air knowing maintenance work can be reduced is a good thing.
The turbine on the Kranz farm, located across CSAH 13 from the Gilfillan Estate (home of Farmfest), provides electricity to run the entire farm site, including the house as well as the hog operation.
“I had been looking at the idea of wind power for years,” said Gary Kranz.
After spending time doing the research, Kranz learned about Renewable Energy SD, and he liked what he saw.
So, they sold him a Polaris turbine which was erected by them.
Wyatt said the Renew-able Energy SD offers turnkey programs to people like Kranz, which means they not only sell you the product but they walk buyers through the entire process from financing to permitting. It means conducting the soil tests and well as making sure all of the inspections are conducted.
In addition they also help set up the process with the local electric cooperative to purchase the unused electricity for the grid.
Kranz said he is consistently selling electricity to the Redwood Electric Co-operative and is receiving checks for $500-700 each month on average.
Granted, he said there are times when the wind is not blowing as much and that means less energy is provided. There are no provisions allowed for energy to be stored for later use. All excess electricity must be sold back to the grid, explained Wyatt.
To put up a wind turbine like the one on the Kranz farm costs approximately $308,000 said Wyatt, but that cost is for the complete process to get the turbine operational.
Page 2 of 2 - Having the turbine so close to Farmfest is ideal said Wyatt, because it allows them to showcase the turbine during the annual farm show, and Wyatt said there has been a lot of interest expressed.
The company has erected more than 30 turbines in Minnesota and have prospects for 130 more across the region, and they are working throughout the midwest in other states, such as North and South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin and even Illinois.
The wind turbine is set up so it is constantly collecting data about wind patterns, which provides valuable information for the owner and the company.
Kranz said he is very satisfied so far with the turbine and is glad he had it erected. He added the real test is going to be how it operates over the next decade.