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Basin will build its own wind farm  

Basin Electric Power Cooperative will cut out the middleman and go directly to the wind on its own.

The cooperative, long associated with lignite power and gasification plants, has formed a subsidiary to build a 77-turbine wind farm along Highway 83 south of Minot, where it installed two turbines in an earlier project.

Public scoping meetings were held Wednesday and construction is scheduled to start next year. The $240 million wind farm will add 115 megawatts of electricity to Basin’s power portfolio when it goes on line in 2010.

Basin is purchasing power from a wind farm project near Wilton, developed two years ago by Florida Power and Light.

Basin named its subsidiary PrairieWinds ND1 Inc., and the new Minot farm will be the subsidiary’s first wholly-owned wind project. One in South Dakota will be next.

Wind project manager Ron Rebenitsch said Basin is evaluating whether to hire its own staff or use wind contractors for operation and maintenance.

The wind farm will encompass 8,000 to 12,000 acres, and project engineer Amanda Wangler is in charge of micrositing each turbine on the site.

Wangler said each turbine should be sited from 1,000 to 2,500 feet from the next to gain maximum wind efficiency. She said the process also balances wind efficiency against spreading the farm too far apart, which would require more road and cable construction.

The Bismarck Tribune

4 April 2008

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