Mayo Clinic says turbines do not hamper medical helicopters

Posted on May 19, 2010. Filed under: Wind |


From an article by Brett Boese in The Post-Bulletin, Rochester, MN:

RED WING — Mayo Clinic officials say concerns from wind farm opponents that the tall turbines might limit their emergency coverage are unfounded thus far in southeastern Minnesota.

Goodhue County could see as many as 300 wind turbines in the coming years if several wind farm projects pass through a regulatory process and still seem financially viable. The prospect has brought out opponents of the farms, who are worried about a range of concerns, including livestock health, declining property values and spoilage of rural landscape.

But as for diminished safety for medical helicopters, Mayo Clinic says no.

“In regards to wind turbine farms affecting our operations, it’s pretty insignificant,” said Paul Drucker, Mayo Clinic’s director of air operations. “We draw that (conclusion) from the wind farms for Dodge Center and the one in Dexter. … We’ve been operating around those for years. The impact has been minimal to none, really.”

Neil Wienk, Mayo’s aviation site manager, says the three Mayo medical helicopters must remain 300 feet above any land-based structures, but he’s resisted putting further limitations on their services.

“It’s really no different than landing along the Mississippi (River), where we have the bluffs,” Wienk said. “Where I can land today might be different from where I can land tomorrow” because of wind.

“It boils down to pilot discretion, because there’s way too many variables.”

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