The Public Service Commission has changed course on how it will address wind farms nearing 10 years of age.
A Monday workshop at the Capitol on dealing with the decommissioning of aging wind farm projects has been cancelled.
Commission chairman Brian Kalk said the meeting was cancelled because the PSC decided it would be better to deal with the companies operating them on a case-by-case basis.
Kalk said some of the earliest wind energy projects approved in North Dakota are nearing the 10-year mark. Companies have until later this month to request a formal hearing on their updated decommissioning plans for their wind projects. If no formal hearing is requested they’ll be able to have an informal hearing with the PSC.
Kalk said projects among those approaching the 10-year mark include a single wind turbine near Valley City, a pair of turbines near Minot and a single turbine near Petersburg along U.S. Highway 2.
Commissioner Randy Christmann said the meetings with the individual companies should be helpful in learning more on how the wind energy industry has advanced in the last decade.
“I think sitting down and talking to these players … I think we’re going to learn a lot,” Christmann said.
Fix the debt letter
Retired North Dakota Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan are among 120 former lawmakers who’ve signed on to a letter urging Washington, D.C., leaders to introduce legislation aimed at reducing the country’s debt.
An open letter was sent to Congress and the White House on Tuesday by the D.C.-based group Campaign to Fix the Debt’s Congressional Fiscal Leadership Council. The group is a coalition of ex-lawmakers and members working to push federal officials to pursue policy to permanently reduce the national debt.
Out of the 120 lawmakers there were 65 Democrats, 53 Republicans and two Independents who had signed. A total of 99 signatories were former representatives and 21 were former senators.
Energy will be the major topic of committee discussion by lawmakers and officials in Bismarck next week.
The interim Energy Development and Transmission Committee will have two days of meetings beginning Monday.
Committee members will meet at 1 p.m. Monday in the Roughrider Room at the state Capitol for their first hearing.
During the Monday hearing they’ll be hearing from state oil and gas and pipeline regulators on recent activities. They’ll also hear similar testimony from the chairman of the Public Service Commission.
On Monday the committee also will hear testimony from a state Health Department official on regulation of carbon dioxide and radioactive waste.
Committee members also will briefly look at a draft of a bill which contains language that would transfer the maintenance of roads from counties to the state Department of Transportation.
On Tuesday the committee will meet at 7:55 a.m. at the Bismarck State College National Energy Center of Excellence. They adjourn after opening comments until 4:45 p.m. to participate in the 2013 Great Plains EmPower ND Energy Conference, being held in the building.
State and federal officials will be speaking and taking part in panel discussions throughout the day as well as leaders of energy companies.
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