North Dakota’s dominant wind energy developer is planning a $2 billion project capable of generating 1,000 megawatts of electricity – triple the amount of wind power the state now produces.
FPL Energy LLC disclosed its plans Thursday in a letter of intent filed with North Dakota’s Public Service Commission, which will hold hearings on the siting of the project once the utility files its formal application next year.
“It almost takes?…?your breath away to think of how big this particular project is,” said Susan Wefald, the commission’s president.
Scott Scovill, an FPL Energy project director, said the development will include 667 wind turbines on about 250 square miles of leased land northwest of Center, in Oliver County in west-central North Dakota.
A project map indicates the wind towers will be placed in Oliver and Morton counties, in a region bordered by Interstate 94 to the south, State Highway 49 to the west and State Highway 25 to the east.
Scovill said the company intends to file its application in July 2009 and hopes to obtain a construction permit by May 2010. FPL Energy will do its construction in stages and hopes to finish by December 2012, Scovill said.
Public Service Commissioner Kevin Cramer said the company is betting Congress will extend a federal tax break for new wind farms well beyond its expiration date at year’s end.
Commissioner Tony Clark said the project will be one of the nation’s biggest wind farms. FPL Energy’s planned investment is almost as large as North Dakota state government’s $2.46 billion general fund budget for two years, he said.
“It’s huge. There are big wind farms, and then there are really big wind farms, and this proposal certainly fits in that latter category.”
27 June 2008
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