Courtenay wind farm approved

Nov 14, 2013

The Public Service Commission has given the final okay for a wind farm proposed for Stutsman County.

The Courtenay Wind Farm will be 200 megawatts. The power will be sold to Xcel Energy.

The company had originally proposed up to 127 turbine locations – and to use one-point-five megawatt turbines. But the developer agreed to drop nine potential locations near a crop spraying business.

"You have an established business -- a person who does crop spraying for a living," said PSC Chairman Brian Kalk. "A wind farm is being built within a two mile radius, which is considered to be a safe zone. Since it's a private air strip, those rules are not necessarily in place. But in looking at this, I thought it was important that giving him that same two mile setback as a public air strip seems to make good sense."

Kalk also says the company will be using 2 megawatt turbines -- reducing the footprint even further.

The $350 million wind farm should be operating by the fall of 2015.

Xcel Energy is buying the power. Xcel's Mark Nisbet says the price is right -- and the timing is perfect.

"This was a great opportunity because of the price of the wind power," said Nisbet.