Oil magnate T. Boone Pickens gave up on his ambitious plan to build the world's biggest wind farm in the Texas panhandle long ago, but he never completely lost his interest in wind power. In January, Pickens announced a plan to cut the Texas wind turbine order in half to 334 GE-branded turbines. Originally, half of the turbines were supposed to go to a wind farm in Minnesota, and half were supposed to go to Canada. But now the all-American billionaire has nixed the Canada plan and decided to send all of his turbines to Goodhue, Minnesota—a plan that will create a 78 MW wind farm capable of powering 31,000 to 70,000 homes.
Earth2Tech reports National Wind will most likely develop the project, which will eventually sell electricity to Xel Energy. If everything goes as planned, the wind farm will go into operation next year. But we can't be too sure—Pickens has shuffled his plans around so much in the past that we're hesitant to say anything is a done deal. In any case, Xcel still needs to get permission from state utility regulators to buy electricity from the Pickens project, and National Wind also has to contend with local residents concerned about the noise and health impacts of the turbines.