IVANHOE – A representative for the Community Wind North project in Lincoln County asked county commissioners Tuesday for new building permits after its initial permits expired earlier this year.
The project’s one-year permit expired in February before construction could begin.
Community Wind North representative Wayne Hesse said construction cannot begin until the project gets approval by the Midwest Independent System Operator, the group that governs power distribution throughout the Midwest.
Community Wind North is a locally-owned wind turbine project that will include 15 turbines in Lincoln County.
Hesse said MISO has a number of projects under consideration and the “queue” for projects is backed up a number of years.
He said groups looking to get into the queue now could wait until 2010 before new projects would be considered.
Hesse said the Community Wind North project is under consideration to be added to the MISO interconnect.
Community Wind North has already gone through the permitting process, said Lincoln County Environmental Officer Robert Olsen.
Olsen said he had no problem granting additional permits to the project, but was seeking commissioner action on whether or not fees should be attached.
Olsen said when a party seeks an additional permit for a project already permitted, the county will charge them again for the additional permit.
He said with the size of the project and the number of turbines, the fees would be $15,000.
Olsen said for other projects, normally homes valued between $100,000 and $200,000 that have sought a second permit because of expiration, permits normally run $100.
Those projects usually have changes in them between the initial permit and a new permit, Olsen said.
For the Community Wind North project, Olsen said the county would not need to go through the permitting process that was completed for the initial permit.
Olsen said the county would not be expending $15,000 worth of time to issue new permits.
Commissioner Jim Johansen suggested an addition to the county permit ordinance that does not account for extension.
Johansen said a $100 cap on a second permit following expiration might be a good addition to the ordinance.
With the $100 cap, Community Wind North will be charged $1,500 for new permits.
Olsen said the extension will give the group two construction seasons to complete the project.
Hesse said he expects that will be sufficient time to finish construction and get on the grid.
Community Wind North has a deal with Xcel Energy for the sale of power generated by the turbines.
By Robert Wolfington III
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