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Ashtabula wind farm first in ND to re-power

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A wind farm in Barnes County is the first facility in North Dakota to be re-powered – that is, upgraded from the original.

The Public Service Commission has okayed the re-power plan. Under it, Ashtabula Wind will replace existing turbines with newer, more power-generating models, that will increase its capacity from 148.5 megawatts to 160.4 megawatts. The turbine blades will also be larger.

The company had started work on the site before the PSC acted.

"It doesn't meet the definition of construction under the law," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak. "This type of construction is an upgrade, and the 'footprint law' allows companies to make upgrades, improvements, put in new facilities, etc. in the previously approved area without receiving approval from the Commission. That's what this is."

Fedorchak said the Commission’s order removes any reference to a “nameplate” generation capacity. She said that might make it a little easier for the company to repower again. But Fedorchak said the company will still have to abide by PSC rules on noise and shadow-flicker.

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