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Orono Man Fights The City To Post Unique Wind Turbine

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ORONO, Minn. (WCCO) – An Orono man seems to have disproved the old saying that “You can’t fight city hall.”

He won a court decision involving a wind turbine in his yard, though Jay Nygard’s turbine is in his garage right now.

He says the City of Orono made him take it down. But the Minnesota Court of Appeals has cleared the way for him to re-install the unit next to his house.

And this turbine isn’t what you’d typically think of for a wind-powered electric generator.

“I sold a couple to the Shakopee Sioux, we’ve got the four in St. Paul, and we’ve got a bunch of them getting ready to go up on the North Shore right now, they’re just writing an ordinance to accept these,” Nygard said.

Nygard’s company sells the unusual wind generators. They are made in Taiwan.

And though they weigh about 700 pounds, they are very small compared to the usual commercial wind power units. The vertical axis wind turbines fit in small spaces.

“I can’t sell it to someone unless I know it works, and so my city said, ‘Well no, sorry, you can’t have it — it’s not in the code,” Nygard said. “And I begged to differ that the code is written in such an ambiguous way that I can have it.”

Nygard hopes the turbine will provide half the power his house needs. He says solar panels on his roof already provide half his power on sunny days. He disagrees with some of his neighbors who say the turbine looks bad.

“It’s completely aesthetically pleasing, people who have come over and looked at it have just been amazed,” Nygard said. “I call it yard art with benefits.”

The City of Orono will discuss the wind turbine issue at a special meeting on Oct. 29. The city released a statement on Wednesday about the Appeals Court decision, saying “At this point, the city has not had an opportunity to make a decision regarding the opinion, or to determine the next steps.”

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