Officials from the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC) joined Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (REG) and industry leaders on Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony on single wind turbine that will provide power to REG’s biorefinery in Albert Lea in southern Minnesota.
“Our organization was excited to have taken part in this ceremony,” says MSR&PC CEO Tom Slunecka. “Biodiesel producers, along with the farming practices improvements being done throughout the Midwest, are continuing to be the solution for renewable fuels.”
This project will provide locally sourced, clean electrical power, lowering the carbon footprint of the biodiesel plant. Local community members, elected officials and employees celebrated the project Monday marking a first-of-its kind project for the company.
“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint by producing cleaner burning fuels. The addition of the wind turbine will make a process that already had low carbon output even more sustainable,” said Cynthia “CJ” Warner, REG president and CEO. “We are continuously looking for innovative approaches to improve our facilities, and this project is no exception.”
The project, to be constructed and operated by Minnesota-based Juhl Energy, will save approximately 68,000 tons of carbon dioxide over the first 10 years, displacing predominantly fossil fuel-based electricity. This is the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from 168 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle.
“This project is a great example of locally sourced distributed renewable energy and we’re excited that electricity produced from the wind will directly lead to lower carbon gallons of biodiesel being produced by REG,” said Clay Norrbom, Managing Director of Juhl energy. “Juhl and REG have appreciated working with the many people who have made the project possible, including local landowners, city, township, and county officials, Freeborn Mower Rural Electric Coop, Dairyland Power Cooperative and Faith Technologies.”
The single wind turbine will be located north and west of the REG Albert Lea biodiesel plant. The site selection was made based on REG’s desire to limit the impact of sound and shadow flicker to the surrounding residents.
“Using wind-generated electrical energy to convert agricultural products into biodiesel is a great way to improve the plant’s environmental footprint and advance our renewable energy goals for the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen. “We’re proud that Minnesota continues to be a leader in biofuels and clean energy.”
In 2019, REG produced 495 million gallons of cleaner fuel delivering more than 4.2 million metric tons of carbon reduction.