Powering Rural Communities With More Than Energy
Across the plain states, wind turbines can be as abundant as the farm fields they tower over, but for Geronimo Energy, it's not just about capturing free energy but caring for rural communities.
As a breeze sweeps across the prairie farm fields of southern Minnesota, sprouting between the crops is the tool turning zephyr into voltage.
Geronimo Energy Founder and Chairman Noel Rahn said, "You start in North and South Dakota, Minnesota and you go right down all the way to Texas, and that's where the best wind is."
Capturing that wind energy has been the goal of Noel Rahn, founder of Minnesota-based Geronimo Energy since he established the first turbines on his farm west of Odin in 2005 after being approached by wind farm developer.
Noel Rahn said, "I looked at it, and I wasn't crazy about how they were handling the farmers and so I decided I would start my own company, which I did."
Now well over ten years on after this first project in Odin of more than 100, Geronimo Energy has projects all across the United States, including both wind and solar, but at the foundation of what the company does, they say it's giving back to the rural economy.
Noel Rahn said, "We call ourselves farmer friendly because of my background; I make certain the farms are taken care of."
In addition to a profile totaling more than 1,600 megawatts, the company also invests back into the areas surrounding their projects with a community fund providing a few thousand dollars to ten–of–thousands a year aimed at providing a better quality of life in rural towns.
Noel's Brother and farmer Scott Rahn said, "These small towns and rural counties are really struggling economically, and the financial impact is fantastic. They're able to update their schools, their fire halls, better roads. It just makes for a better life."
Geronimo is only adding to their footprint, with another wind farm planned to span about 70,000 acres in Cottonwood, Murray and Redwood Counties.
Called Plum Creek Wind Farm, it's still a few years from being operational.
--KEYC News 12