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Wind turbine locations sent back to board

The location of nine turbines in the Oliver Wind II project will be altered from the original plan, requiring a return of the project to the Oliver County Planning and Zoning Commission next week.

Oliver Wind II will go into full-blown construction soon, but changes with landowners and design mean that some of the wind turbines will be moved outside of the previously approved project area.

County land use administrator John Wicklund said the change is a relatively small tweaking of the project and that the new locations will be adjacent to the land that was originally zoned for the project.

A hearing on whether to give the new turbine locations a conditional use permit will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Oliver County Courthouse in Center.

In this phase II, another 32 towers will be constructed and should go on line by the end of the year. The towers will hold turbines capable of producing 1.5 megawatts of electricity.

Phase 1 was completed in 2006 and consists of 22, larger turbines in the area northeast of Center, visible on the Missouri River ridge on the west side of the river near the Fort Clark area.

Florida Power and Light is developing both phases of the wind farm and the electricity is being sold to Minnesota Power under a 25-year contract and transported from the Square Butte substation.

Florida Power and Light has developed three wind farms in North Dakota – in Oliver County, near LaMoure and near Wilton.

It has two more in development, the phase II in Oliver County and a very large-scale, 150-megawatt wind farm that is planned to be built near Langdon, said the company’s spokesman Steve Stengel.

Stengel said Florida Power and Light is “very pleased” with the performance of its North Dakota assets. “We love doing business in North Dakota.”

By Lauren Donovan

The Bismarck Tribune

21 June 2007