Luther's community wind power project completed

April 11, 2012    

Luther College officials have announced the formal completion and start-up of the wind power project that is creating wind-generated electrical power for the college and the Decorah community.

The 1.6 MW GE XLE wind turbine, located prominently on the west side of U.S. Highway 52 near the edge of campus, has been generating electrical power for the college and community since November. 

The unit is owned and operated Luther College Wind Energy Project, LLC, which is wholly owned by Luther College Ventures, Inc.

Luther College Ventures, Inc. is a C Corporation, a tax-paying entity in which Luther College is the sole investor.

The $3.3 million renewable energy project was developed by Luther College with assistance from Wind Utility Consulting in Jefferson, Iowa. The general contractor was Diversified Energy Solutions in Gary, S.D. 

Luther College Wind Energy Project, LLC reports the project was completed on time and under budget in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The power generated by the wind turbine is being sold to Alliant Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement. The project's Renewable Energy Certificates are being sold to Luther College in order to reduce the college's carbon footprint.

A Renewable Energy Certificate is a tradable energy commodity that represents one megawatt-hour of electricity from a renewable energy resource. RECs represent the environmental attributes of power produced from renewable energy projects and promote carbon-neutral energy production by providing a production subsidy to electricity generated from renewable sources.

Luther College Wind Energy Project, LLC recently received a cash grant of $971,249 from the U.S. Treasury under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project was also awarded a cash grant of $500,000 and a guaranteed loan by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program. 

Commercial bank financing was provided by Decorah Bank & Trust and the Alternative Energy Revolving Loan Program of the Iowa Energy Center.  The project is eligible for Iowa's 476C Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit.

"We could not have completed this project without the support of the Winneshiek County Board of Supervisors and the county's Planning and Zoning Commission," said Luther College President Richard Torgerson. 

"This project also would not have happened were it not for the support of the students, faculty, and staff of Luther College and the broader community of Decorah, he said. "We are pleased that our turbine can provide a significant portion of the electricity that powers our community."

More information about the project is available at https://www.luther.edu/sustainability/energy/windturbine/