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St. Paul building owner to set up first urban wind farm in the country

This summer, several wind turbines have been welded to the rooftop of the building at 1010 Dale Street North in St. Paul. Soon, a fourth one will go on a separate pole in the parking lot.

The installation will be the first urban wind farm in the country, according to building owner Tony Magnotta, who also heads several companies, including Minnesota Wind Technology, which is housed in the building.

Macalester College also has a wind turbine-system, but wind as a main power source is a new phenomenon in the city, St. Paul's Monitor reports. As such, getting the proper city approvals was a challenge.

Magnotta's building will be a kind of test that will help inform more detailed city policies on the subject further down the line, the Monitor reports.

Additionally, solar panels will also make the building "totally self-sufficient," energy-wise, Magnotta says.

The wind turbines that Magnotta is using are the product of a Taiwanese company that will soon be setting up shop in St. Paul, he says. "These are the only ones that are viable in an urban environment."

In fact, they're built to withstand wind speeds of up to 134 miles per hour, the Monitor reports. They move with the wind, not against it, and they shut down when the wind becomes too powerful, the story explains.  

At $20,000 for each wind turbine and $50,000 for the solar panels, it's a big investment. But between federal government incentives and long-term energy savings, he says, it's a good deal.

And, rising utility costs coupled with growing environmental concerns mean that soon enough "we'll all have to do this," he says.

Source: Tony Magnotta, CEO, Minnesota Wind Technology, LLC  
Writer: Anna Pratt

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