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Developers eye Luverne for wind farm  

For the second time this week, developers have announced plans for a large wind farm north of Valley City, N.D.

But M-Power LLC’s 150-megawatt Luverne Wind Farm, which could have as many as 100 turbines, is unique.

It will be the first locally owned wind farm, said Public Service Commissioner Susan Wefald. The PSC received notice of the project Thursday.

Its proposed site stretches north and northeast of Luverne, N.D., which is near the Sheyenne River, and covers parts of four townships on the east side of the river. Its southern boundary will be only a few miles north of the proposed 200-MW Ashtabula Wind farm announced Tuesday, the largest in the state.

“This is quite an exciting week for the commission to receive letters of intent for 350 megawatts (of wind power),” Wefald said. Both projects are shooting for completion in time to produce power no later than Dec. 31, the date federal wind power tax credits expire.

The Luverne Wind Farm has more than 35 local investors so far, company secretary Warren Enyart told the PSC in a letter. Many are landowners where the turbines could be placed. He said 60 landowners, covering 75 percent of the land for the project, have signed options/leases. Landowners signing leases receive lease payments and also become part owners of the company. The company continues buying additional leases it needs, Enyart said.

M-Power’s developer is a company formed by the Griggs-Steele (counties) Empowerment Zone and Griggs/Steele Wind Power Development Group LLC.

The company is raising $1.3 million to $1.6 million in equity, Enyart said in a phone interview from his office in Finley, N.D. The number of investors will depend on the size of their investments. He said the earliest units sold cost $10 each, the next round, $20, and currently are selling for $45 each.

M-Power is co-developing the project with a Minnesota company, National Wind LLC, which has been working with the Griggs-Steele group for two years.

The Luverne project will have two concurrently developed phases, one to produce 100 MW and the other 50 MW. M-Power will continue to own the larger part and sell electricity to an undisclosed utility. Just before the 50-MW portion’s construction starts, it will be sold to a regional utility, Enyart said. He has declined to name the utilities involved, nor would he disclose the “two major regional electric generation and transmission utilities” that will built and operate the transmission line coming out of the Luverne farm.

M-Power has asked the PSC to first determine if its project needs a PSC permit. If the PSC decides it has jurisdiction, the company will file a formal application for a permit.

By Janell Cole, State Capitol Bureau

Grand Forks Herald

18 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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