Illegal wind turbine leaves green energy entrepreneur spinning in jail
A Minnesota green energy entrepreneur has been in jail since Friday all because of a wind turbine that once stood on his property.
Jay Nygard, founder of Go Green Energy, built the 29-foot-high turbine, which has been likened to a giant eggbeater, on his Orono, Minn., property in 2010 despite being denied a permit. Nygard and his lawyer, who argue that having a 1.5-kilowatt turbine is a right — rather than a fixture subject to zoning laws — spent a year fighting to keep it in place.
“My husband is a libertarian, and he has very strong views about Americans’ rights to things,” Nygard’s wife, Kendall, said. “And if you’re a property owner, you have some rights. When he sees things that are being violated, he’s not afraid to take them head on.”
Nygard’s company makes solar panels, hot water systems and attic fans, as well as turbines that mount on roofs or stand freely, like the one he built on his one-third-acre property.
“Jay Nygard of Go Green Energy is known throughout the local metro area as a forebearer of the energy sustainability movement,” touts the company website.
But officials in Orono, where Nygard once served as a city councilman, said the turbine was noisy, violated zoning codes and made his neighbors’ life miserable.
“The thing was 2 feet from his neighbor’s property line and 20-some feet tall,” Soren Mattick, the lawyer for the city of Orono, told FoxNews.com. “I wish there were a way for you to see the almost disco-ball-like effect into the neighbor’s front yard when this thing spun.”