Star Tribune: Regulators table Canby area wind farm over labor concerns

Union said developer of Bitter Root project relies on out-of-state labor.

By Mike Hughlett - December 6, 2018

State utility regulators postponed a vote to approve a western Minnesota wind farm Thursday after construction unions criticized the project’s nonunion builder for primarily hiring out-of-state workers.

RES, a major renewable energy developer, last year proposed the Bitter Root wind farm near Canby with 44 wind turbines that could generate up to 152 megawatts of power, a decent-sized project. RES would both develop and build the wind farm.

The Laborers’ union, representing several construction unions, asserted that the socio-economic benefits of Bitter Root would be “substantially diminished” by a lack of Minnesota workers. RES has used nonunion trades workers on other wind farms in Minnesota, and the Laborers’ union says those workers were mostly from out of state.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) decided the unions’ claims need a closer look...

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