wind energy

In North Dakota, Will Wind Keep The Lights On?

May 16, 2017
Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

Steven Somsen’s farm has looked the same his entire life -- it’s flat, with wheat and soybeans that will soon grow as far as the eye can see.

But the 61-year-old’s view changed last year.

“Those are the closest ones to us, but they’re not our towers,” he said, pointing to several nearby wind turbines. “That’s the neighbors’. Ours are way, way off in there.”

One hundred wind turbines dot the farmland around his rural community of Courtenay in eastern North Dakota. Somsen has three on his land.

ND Legislature

The House has rejected an amendment to a power generation study bill that opponents said would have severely restricted wind power development in North Dakota.

The amendment would have required the Public Service Commission to consider “need” when siting a new power generation facility.  Supporters said all this does is ask the PSC to do its job.

"This is not a war on wind thing," said Rep. Todd Porter (R-Mandan). "This is making sure that the next one in isn't causing someone else to drop out."

Wind farm moratorium loses in the Senate

Feb 23, 2017
Courtesy ND Legislature

The state Senate has rejected the idea of imposing a two year moratorium on wind development.

Instead, it approved a study of North Dakota’s power generation.

Wind farm in the Bakken under construction

Jul 5, 2016

It’s been several years since it was first proposed – but a 150 megawatt wind farm near Tioga is now under construction.

The Lindahl wind project will cost $220 million to build.

It will be owned by Enel Green Power North America. It’s Enel’s first North Dakota wind project.

"This project begain about eight years ago, with a group of motivated landowners who had an interest in starting their own wind farm," said Enel Senior manager of business development Conor Branch. He says in 2014, the landowners sold the project to Tradewind Energy, Enel’s development partner.

'Oliver III' wind farm approved by PSC

Jun 23, 2016
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved a 100 megawatt wind farm that will be in Morton and Oliver counties.

“Oliver III” is the third wind farm for  the area that will be built by NextEra. “Oliver I” and “Oliver II” are in Oliver County – while “Oliver III” will be almost completely in Morton County. The new wind farm will have up to 48 turbines. The price tag: $153 million. A new associated high voltage power line will cost another $11 million.

The first wind farm hasn’t yet been built – but the developers of the Brady wind farm in Stark and Hettinger counties have proposed a second wind farm for that same area.

Brady II would be 150 megawatts. It would have up to 72 turbines.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission is requiring the developer to submit the proposed locations for the wind turbines at least 30 days before the public hearing.

PSC okays site plan for Rolette wind farm

Nov 19, 2015
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has approved the siting plan for a new 100 megawatt wind farm to be located in Rolette County.

The Rolette Wind Energy Project is to be built south of the city of Rolette. It would use no more than 59 wind turbines.

The PSC held a second formal hearing on the wind farm – because of concerns about bald eagles in the area. That issue arose after a dead eagle was found beneath a turbine in the Bison wind farm in Mercer County.

Thunder Spirit's turbines are generating electricity

Nov 9, 2015

The first five of 43 wind turbines at ALLETE Clean Energy's Thunder Spirit wind farm have begun generating electricity. 

Spokeswoman Amy Rutledge says the rest of the turbines should be online within the next couple of weeks.  The Thunder Spirit wind farm will generate 107 megawatts of wind power for customers of Montana-Dakota Utilities.  Rutledge says the wind farm is near the community of Hettinger, which became very involved in the installation.