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wind energy

Ashtabula wind farm first in ND to re-power

Dec 4, 2019

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.

Wind farm repowering decision delayed

Nov 8, 2019

The owners of a wind farm near Valley City want to re-power the existing farm, by installing larger turbines and bigger blades.

But the North Dakota Public Service Commission isn’t yet ready to give it the go-ahead.

The Ashtabula Wind Energy Center was built by NextEra Energy. Part of the farm was sold to Otter Tail Power. NextEra wants to raise the capacity from its part of the center from the current 148.5 megawatts to 160.4 megawatts.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

An official with a wind energy developer says a lack of transmission is holding back wind development in North Dakota.

John DiDonato is a vice-president for renewable development and origination with NextEra Energy. He told the Legislature’s Energy Development and Transmission Committee transmission is handled in North Dakota by two independent system operators that serve multiple states – the Midwest Independent System Operator and the Southwest Power Pool.

"MISO" serves 15 states and the Canadian province of Manitoba. "SPP" serves 14 states.

Power grid issues, and 'wind fatigue'

Sep 23, 2019

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission say there is a potential stumbling block to developing more electricity production in the state.

And that is – the power grid.

"The transmission grid is at or approaching its capacity," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

PSC denies siting for the proposed Burke Wind project

Jun 13, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

It may be a first for the North Dakota Public Service Commission.

The PSC has denied the siting permit for a wind farm.

The wind farm in question is the proposed 200 megawatt Burke Wind facility, in Burke and Mountrail Counties.

The reason for the denial: objections from the state Game and Fish Department and the US Fish and Wildlife Service concerning wetlands and other wildlife habitat.

Emmons-Logan wind farm approved

Feb 7, 2019
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The Public Service Commission has okayed the siting for a new 298 megawatt wind farm near Linton.

Emmons-Logan Wind – a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources – will build the farm on 28,000 acres. It will have 123 wind turbines. The company has a contract to sell the power to Great River Energy.

PSC Chairman Brian Kroshus said he was very impressed at the community support for this project.

Interim committee studying wind power siting

Dec 14, 2017
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

An interim Legislative committee has begun a study of wind power in North Dakota – looking at wind farm siting laws and rules, as well as rules for decommissioning wind farms when they’re no longer used.

"The process of siting wind projects has gotten more and more controversial, as we see more farms developing," Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak told the interim Natural Resources Committee. "We've also gotten better at it."

But Fedorchak told the Committee she's open to find more improvements.

As wind farms age, companies are working to re-power them – by replacing older turbines with newer, more powerful turbines.

"In some of the older wind facilities, the turbine technology wasn't as good," said North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kroshus. "In the newer turbines, technology has improved, and they last longer."

"We've already had NextEra talk to our staff pretty extensively about looking at repowering some of their facilities," said Commissioner Julie Fedorchak.

Wind power still 'hot' in ND

Nov 17, 2017
Prairie Public file

North Dakota’s Public Service Commissioners belive there is still a lot of interest in building wind power facilities in North Dakota.

The PSC this week worked on expanding three already-approved wind power projects, and is considering another one.

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said there’s no question it is being driven by the federal production tax credit – which is set to expire soon.

"When we visit with companies, they've indicated the expiring PTCs are playing a part in bringing this wind on line as quickly as they can," Kroshus said.

Xcel Energy, Wanzek Construction partner on wind farms

Oct 24, 2017
D. Webster

Xcel Energy is expanding its wind energy portfolio.

They've partnered with Wanzek Construction to build the Foxtail Wind Farm in Dickey County, North Dakota, as well as the Freeborn Wind Farm located primarily in Iowa with some turbines located in Minnesota. The projects will total 350 megawatts and about 175 turbines. Mark Nisbet is principal manager of Xcel Energy. He says including wind in their energy portfolio helps keep their electric rates down.