A wind farm planned for southern Dakota County is getting some blowback from nearby residents.

In a barrage of comments submitted to the state's Public Utilities Commission, neighbors and even a few people from other parts of the metro area criticized the proposal for a 10.84 megawatt wind farm in Greenvale Township, northeast of Northfield.

The project would be the first to concentrate multiple windmills in the seven-county metro area, and many people objected to that idea. Others aired concerns about safety, property values, noise and effects on wildlife. More than 30 people signed a petition asking the PUC for a contested case hearing.

The commotion prompted Sparks Energy and Medin Renewable Energy to pause and rethink some aspects of its project. The companies have asked the PUC to delay action on permits in order to address public concerns.

Anna Schmalzbauer, co-owner of Sparks Energy, said the companies are willing to reconsider the number of turbines and where they would be installed, with special attention to their distance from homes. There are about 20 houses within the 836-acre area and others just outside the border.

The original Greenvale Wind Farm plan calls for 11 two-blade wind turbines on the farmland. An alternative, Schmalzbauer said, would be to place just six or seven larger windmills, likely 1.5 megawatt models with three blades.

As for concerns about the location of the wind farm, Schmalzbauer said it is close to a more populated area because that's where the power grid infrastructure exists.

Katie Humphrey • 952-882-9056