North Dakota may see the construction of more wind turbines – possibly some in the Jamestown area.
Terry Wanzek, who farms west of Jamestown, said he signed an easement contract with FPL Energy for a possible wind farm on his property.
“We are looking at additional opportunities in the state,” said Steve Stengel, spokesman for FPL Energy, the firm that constructed the wind farm west of Edgeley and is in the process of building a wind farm near Langdon and expanding the wind farm in Oliver County.
Wanzek said the representatives of FPL Energy he dealt with were very reasonable and patient in allowing him time to review the contract and ask questions.
“It seemed that they wanted us to thoroughly understand the commitment we were making,” he said.
Stengel said FPL Energy is the largest generator of wind and solar power in the United States and the second largest generator of wind power in the world, and the company is growing. The company has a goal of increasing its production of wind power from 4,000 megawatts to between 8,000 and 10,000 megawatts from 2007 to 2012. By the end of 2007, production will have already increased by more than 5,000 megawatts.
“Growth is a large part of our business,” Stengel said. “We are looking to expand where it makes sense for our customers and our shareholders.”
Signing a contract doesn’t mean Wanzek’s site will be chosen for a wind farm. Stengel said FPL is studying a number of possible sites across the state and talking to a number of landowners. He said a successful wind project has a number of requirements besides a land lease, including a strong wind resource, access to high voltage transmission lines and a customer to purchase the energy.
“None of those things are more important than another,” he said.
Stengel said transmission is a problem the farther one gets from a city because transmission lines are very expensive and the process to build them is lengthy.
“Transmission is a problem, but it’s not just a North Dakota problem,” he said. “It’s an issue we face everywhere.
Otherwise, he said North Dakota has very good winds, and its federal and state legislators and residents have been very welcoming.
“We have found North Dakota a very good place to do business,” he said.
Wanzek, of course, hopes that his site will be chosen for the next wind farm, “so that we can all prosper.”
By Jackie Hyra
9 November 2007
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