Edison Mission Energy has begun construction of its 10th wind project in Minnesota, the 30-MW Community Wind North project in the southwestern part of the state.

All of the electricity produced by the project will be sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement to Xcel Energy’s Northern States Power Company. The project is scheduled for completion by mid-2011.

The project was jointly developed by Southwest Wind Consulting LLC, the Community Energy Developers Board and Lincoln County Enterprise Development, and received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The contract with Northern States Power Co. was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.

“Rural communities have a significant opportunity to generate income and preserve the environment by producing renewable energy that can be used by other consumers,” said Colleen Landkamer, USDA Rural Development state director. “We are proud to be a part of this project and look forward to seeing the positive results this project will deliver for many years to come.”

“Xcel Energy is already the No. 1 wind power provider in the country. The Community Wind North project advances our commitment to provide our customers with clean, renewable energy at a reasonable cost, and assists us in meeting aggressive renewable energy requirements,” said Judy Poferl, president and CEO of Northern States Power - Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company.

Community Wind North is located in Lincoln County, about six miles west of Lake Benton along Minnesota’s Buffalo Ridge. It will be powered by 12 2.5-MW Clipper turbines producing enough power to meet the energy needs of about 10,000 homes.

“The Lincoln County Enterprise Development Corporation has been working to facilitate the development of renewable energy in Lincoln County for many years,” said Vince Robinson, LCEDC executive director. “One of our primary goals is to see that more of the development is accomplished through local initiatives with local investors. This project is a major step in that direction. Community Wind North will be a long term benefit to its 150 local investors and to the 15 landowners receiving compensation for land leases and easements. The project will also provide additional taxes to the local jurisdictions and will provide many direct and indirect jobs. We at LCEDC are happy to have played a part in making this project a reality.”

The project will support about 30 construction jobs and represents a total investment of $58 million. It will also pay nearly $28 million in taxes and fees to the local and state economies over the next 20 years.