Renewable energy helps mining

By Eric Blashford, president of Broadwind Towers

The Iron Range is not a hotbed for wind-energy development in Minnesota. But that doesn’t mean the region shouldn’t support additional development.

Or elsewhere around the country, for that matter.

Most of today’s modern turbines use rolled steel towers. In 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey reported that an average of nearly 127 tons of steel was required per megawatt of installed wind capacity. There are 3,235 megawatts of wind-energy installations already in Minnesota and opportunities for much, much more. This development is going to create more demand for steel, and Minnesota’s taconite industry stands to benefit. As the nation embraces clean, low-cost wind energy in the electric grid, the demand for steel for those towers is sure to increase.

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