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Basin Electric proposing wind energy project  

Basin Electric Power Cooperative is planning the largest wind farm within its nine-state service territory, a proposed 115-megawatt development south of Minot in northwestern North Dakota.

Basin Electric, which is based in Bismarck, recently notified North Dakota’s Public Service Commission about the proposal. It includes 77 wind towers and would cost an estimated $240 million to build.

“It will be one of the largest cooperative-owned wind farms in the country,” Basin spokesman Daryl Hill said Wednesday.

Basin’s general manager, Ron Harper, said in a letter to the PSC that the cooperative intends to file a site plan by September. Basin wants to begin construction in April 2009, and have the project operating by January 2010, Harper said.

Its power output will be funneled into the Western Area Power Administration’s transmission system, Harper said.

The project is needed because of expected increases in electricity demand, and state regulations that require some of the cooperative’s power to come from renewable sources, Harper said in his letter. Most of Basin’s present electric supply is generated by coal-fueled plants.

Basin supplies wholesale electric power to rural cooperatives in North Dakota, South Dakota, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming.

The proposed wind farm’s location extends from about four miles south of Berthold to about 25 miles southeast of Minot, Public Service Commission filings say.

“It is one of the best areas of the state for wind resources,” Hill said.

Basin already operates small wind projects, consisting of two turbines each, near Minot and Chamberlain, S.D. They’re run jointly with local cooperatives.

Basin also buys the energy output of three wind farms operated by FPL Energy, of Juno Beach, Fla. They are located near Edgeley and Kulm in southeastern North Dakota, Wilton in west-central North Dakota, and Highmore in central South Dakota.

By Dale Wetzel
Associated Press writer

grandforksherald.com

28 February 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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