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Barnes County will be home of big wind farm  

Move over, Langdon. Your title of biggest wind farm in North Dakota isn’t going to last long.

Barnes County, prepare to don the crown.

A Florida company that has been involved in most wind farms in North Dakota has notified the state that it plans to build a 133-turbine, 200-megawatt wind farm just east of Lake Ashtabula near Valley City.

FPL Energy of Juno Beach, Fla., told the North Dakota Public Service Commission on Monday that it hopes to file a formal application for a permit by Feb. 5, wants to have a permit granted by May 1 and have the wind farm completed and working by Dec. 31.

FPL would put the wind farm on 35 square miles of leased private property northeast of Valley City. Its northernmost sections are west of Pillsbury. According to area residents and Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer, the leases have already been obtained.

The project will also included three or more permanent meteorological towers, access roads, underground and overhead collection lines, a substation and operations and maintenance facilities, FPL’s letter said.

Cramer said the company’s Dec. 31 goal coincides with the expiration of the current federal wind energy tax credit. If the Ashtabula project is producing wind power by no later than Dec. 31, it will qualify for the tax credit, he said.

FPL also developed the Langdon wind farm, whose construction is being completed this month. It will generate 159 megawatts of electric power with 106 wind turbines.

Public Service Commissioner Susan Wefald said Barnes County officials are currently considering a zoning change necessary to build the wind farm.

She expects the PSC’s first discussion of the Ashtabula project will be at its Jan. 30 meeting.

The FPL letter does not say what power company will buy the Ashtabula wind farm’s electricity. Company project director Scott Scovill could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

By Janell Cole

The Forum

16 January 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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