Wind power still 'hot' in ND

Nov 17, 2017

Public Service Commissioners Brian Kroshus (i); chairman Randy Christmann; and Julie Fedorchak.
Credit Prairie Public file

North Dakota’s Public Service Commissioners belive there is still a lot of interest in building wind power facilities in North Dakota.

The PSC this week worked on expanding three already-approved wind power projects, and is considering another one.

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said there’s no question it is being driven by the federal production tax credit – which is set to expire soon.

"When we visit with companies, they've indicated the expiring PTCs are playing a part in bringing this wind on line as quickly as they can," Kroshus said.

Commissioner Julie Fedorchak said the big issue will be how to back up wind generation – using natural gas, nuclear or new battery technology. But she thinks wind power will be around for a long time.

"Despite the questions about the future of the PTCs, I think the costs have come down enough where there's going to be continued interest," Fedorchak said.

Xcel Energy, for example, wants to expand its wind power generationto 1550 megawatts system-wide.