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New wind farm to be built near Tioga


A new 300 megawatt wind farm has been approved to be built northwest of Tioga.

The Aurora Wind farm has a price tag of $380 million. It would have up to 121 turbines, and would be built over 44,000 acres.

The size of the wind farm's footprint was questioned by North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Randy Christmann.

"That's more than a half-section of land per turbine," Christmann said.

Christmann said some of the recent applicants for wind farm siting have, after approval, narrowed down their site plans.

"I don't mean to deny the landowners the ability to get lease payments," Christmann said. "I'm talking about occupying this and having a stranglehold on what might be other important infrastructure that could be needed in the future."

PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus said he agrees the turbine-to-acreage ratio appears very high.

"But it also goes back to landowner rights," Kroshus said. "They can be willing to receive lease payments for the substantial footprint."

The PSC voted unanimously to approve the siting plan.

Aurora Wind is planning to start construction this year, and have it in-service by the end of 2020. The company will also build a high voltage power line to connect with a Basin Electric substation in Mountrail County.

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