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PSC approves a new wind farm to be built near Wishek

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Dave Thompson
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Public Service Commissioners Randy Christmann, Julie Fedorchak and Sheri Haugen-Hoffart

The Public Service Commission has approved the siting for a new wind farm in Logan and McIntosh counties.

But the Commission’s vote wasn’t unanimous.

Badger Wind, LLC is proposing 251.6 megawatt wind farm, to be near Wishek. It will have 79 turbines, spread out over 31,500 acres.

During the public hearing inn Wishek, representatives of the state’s coal industry testified against it – saying it was just being built because of the “production tax credit” for renewables – and that it would be to the detriment of coal-fired power plants, because of the current transmission congestion.

However, commission chairman Julie Fedorchak said Badger Wind did the right things to meet the requirements of the state siting law for energy facilities.

"Our goal is to provide an orderly development of all of our energy resources," Fedorchak said. "North Dakota can be a beacon to the whole country on how to do that."

Fedorchak said developing all of the state's energy resources needs to be done in a "fair and orderly way."

Commissioner Sheri Haugen-Hoffart agreed with Fedorchak. But Commissioner Randy Christmann voted “no.” He said the transmission system is congested – and it will be expensive to build out new transmission.

"There are plans to solve this connection problem, through the plans MISO (Midwest Independent System Operator) has laid out — I acknowledge that," Christmann said. "They aren't cheap plans."

Christmann said the transmission expansion will not be paid by the generators.

"It's being paid by the rate-payers," Christmann said.

The developers of the wind farm say it will take about 18 months to build it.

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