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Wind farm set for public hearings

Plans for a 133-turbine wind farm and associated 10 miles of transmission line north of Valley City in Barnes County will be heard by the Public Service Commission at back-to-back hearings May 2 in Valley City.

Ashtabula Wind, a project of Florida Power and Light, needs site authorization to construct the wind farm, which will generate 200 megawatts of electricity.

It also needs authorization for the transmission corridor to build a 230 kv line to hook up to Otter Tail Power.

The company asked the PSC to hold a joint hearing, but the agency said it wanted to hear each application separately.

The application for the transmission corridor will be heard at 9 a.m. May 2 in the Valley City Auditorium and the wind farm site certificate hearing will follow at 10:30 a.m.

The PSC will consider any adverse impact on residents and the environment and whether the project location ensures energy reliability.

This would be the first commercial wind farm in Barnes County.

It has generated some local zoning controversy because a competing project being developed by local landowners, Peak Wind, is concerned that placement of the Ashtabula Wind towers will interfere with the efficiency of their towers. If both are constructed, the two projects would share a 22-mile boundary.

The PSC has not received any formal intervention request from Peak Wind, said Jerry Lein, utility analyst.

Bismarck Tribune

Apr 09, 2008