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Wind farm application time shrunk  

State regulators have agreed to shorten a wind developer’s waiting time before it may submit plans to build North Dakota’s largest wind energy project.

FPL Energy wants to build 133 wind turbines in northern Barnes County in eastern North Dakota. The wind project would generate up to 200 megawatts of electricity and cost an estimated $350 million to build.

The company wants North Dakota’s Public Service Commission to grant a construction permit by May 1, Scott Scovill, an FPL Energy project director, said in a letter to the agency.

The unit of FPL Group Inc. wants to have the wind turbines operating by year’s end to ensure the project will qualify for a federal tax credit for wind energy, which is due to expire Dec. 31, Scovill said.

On Wednesday, the commission voted to allow the company to file its construction application immediately, rather than waiting for a year. The application may come as early as next week, Commissioner Kevin Cramer said.

Commissioner Tony Clark said he expected 2008 “will be a busy year for wind farm applications,” and Cramer said the federal tax break is crucial to the success of wind projects.

“It is a significant economic factor in determining whether there will be an investment in wind energy,” Cramer said.

Associated Press


31 January 2008

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