Energy

Minnesota’s largest wind farm proposed

The largest wind farm in Minnesota is being proposed in Nobles and Murray counties.

Project Resources Corp., a renewable energy company based in Minneapolis, plans a 300-megawatt wind farm with up to 150 turbines on 69,476 acres in the southwest Minnesota counties, according to a regulatory filing. One megawatt is 1 million watts.

The project, called Nobles 2 Power Partners, would be 50 percent larger than Minnesota’s largest wind generator, the 205-megawatt Fenton Wind Farm completed in 2007 in the same counties. The Nobles 2 site is near the 201-megawatt Nobles Wind Farm built by EDF Renewable Energy in 2010 for Xcel Energy of Minneapolis.

Project Resources Corp. said it intends to sell the electricity from Nobles 2 to an electric utility, but did not specify a buyer. The project is expected to be completed in 2018, the filing said.

It is the third large wind farm proposed in Minnesota this year, a sign that the wind industry expects increased investment after Congress’ recent five-year extension of wind energy tax credits.

The other two large wind farms of up to 200 megawatts have been proposed by EDF Renewable Energy, a unit of the giant French energy company, and Edina-based Geronimo Energy. Both projects are in southwest Minnesota.

DAVID SCHAFFER

 

Minnesota exports

Trade office, partners stage spring seminars

The Minnesota Trade Office, in partnership with businesses and other government agencies, has an interesting lineup of spring conferences designed to help small- to medium-sized businesses export and navigate international trade.

A one-day seminar on doing business in Europe, to which Minnesota exports $4.6 billion in goods annually, will feature, for the first time here, 20 visiting leaders of the American Chamber of Commerce from across the European Union and the continent.

These are well-connected executives who help U.S. companies market and move products throughout Europe.

The seminar is set for May 12 at the Millennium Hotel, 1313 Nicollet Mall, with an evening reception with the visiting trade dignitaries.

One of the attendees will be Jake Slegers, executive director of the American Chamber in the Slovak Republic. After graduating from Augsburg College in 1993, Slegers, who grew up on a family farm in Tyler, Minn., worked for General Mills before moving to Slovakia. He worked as a business reporter for three years before joining the business-promotion organization and becoming deputy director in 1999.

On April 19 in downtown Minneapolis at the offices of Dorsey & Whitney, Deputy Assistant Secretary Lynn Fischer Fox of the U.S. Department of Commerce will explain the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), signed last fall after five years of negotiations by the United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam and several other Asian nations.

In 2014, Minnesota exported $10.6 billion in goods — 50 percent of Minnesota exports — to TPP countries, including $1.2 billion in goods to Japan, $150 million to Malaysia and $85 million to Vietnam.

Review these and other trade-related events in April and May and register at www.mn.gov/deed/business/exporting.

NEAL ST. ANTHONY

 

New technology

Arc Suppression raises capital, revenue

CEO Bob Thorbus of Arc Suppression Technologies said his several-year-old company has raised more than half the $1.5 million total from individual “angel” investors in a first round of outside financing that he plans to complete this spring.

Arc Suppression, a finalist in last year’s Midwest Cleantech technology competition, has patented low-cost technology that reduces electrical arcing and extends the life of electro­mechanical switching. Arcing has led to millions of dollars in rotten food in supermarket refrigeration units and dangerous situations when rail crossings don’t function automatically.

“I know we’ll be more than $1 million in sales by the end of next year,” said Thorbus, who uses contract manufacturers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. “We might be close this year. We’ve had about 100 customers, including Oshkosh Corp., which is using it in Striker airport rescue vehicles. Some customers have bought one. Others 10 to 100.

“We’ve got a second patent granted. We just got Underwriters Laboratory approval on our product. Things are proceeding well.”

Relays, which typically cost $50 to $400, switch electrical currents in everything from railway signals to industrial machinery and household appliances. They also can be the glitch that shuts down a critical system.

Thorbus and veteran engineer Reinhold Henke developed and commercialized their “NOsparc” product, designed to suppress arcing by 99 percent and extend the life of relays by at least 10 times.

The NOsparc costs $30 to $50 per unit depending on order size. Customers include Oshkosh, Australian Rail Track Corp., Computrols of New Orleans and Chanhassen-based Roberts Automatic.

NEAL ST. ANTHONY