The most innovative country in the world scores another coup, both technologically and politically. You want to store spent fuel rods at your nuclear power plant? Okay, we’ll give you a permit if you generate electricity from bird droppings.

Says the report:

? the plant will burn 90 percent turkey dung and create clean power for 55,000 homes. ? Utility Xcel has agreed to purchase the turkey power, said company spokesman Ed Legge. Under 1994 Minnesota state legislation, Xcel is required to buy a small amount of power made from biomass in exchange for clearance to store spent nuclear fuel outside its Red Wing nuclear plant in Minnesota.

This is no laboratory-only, proof-of-concept project — the plant is designed for 55 megawatts, which is the same size or bigger than most of the hydroelectric plants in the Carolinas.

Of course, if you run the numbers it looks like it will take over 100 million turkeys working full time to keep this plant going. That’s more than there are in the turkey-intensive states of Minnesota and North Carolina combined (both average around 40 million).

And that raises interesting issues — maybe ad campaigns will say “Eat More Turkey — Minnesota Needs The Light”. Since the typical home would require more than 25,000 pounds of turkey droppings to keep the lights on for a year — about 1880 birds’ worth — the NIMBY question becomes another matter indeed. Perhaps sustainable growth initiatives should require space allotted for a 2000-bird turkey operation for each new home built …

(You can learn way more than you want to right here)