WILLISTON – Yet another wind company is looking to locate in the Bakken.
Williams County commissioners on Tuesday granted a conditional use permit to Homestead Wind LLC for a temporary meteorological tower to study the wind characteristics of 160-acre area approximately 17 miles northwest of Williston and 8.5 miles southeast of Grenora. The property is zoned for agriculture in Bull Butte Township.
That’s the general description of the area under study, although the exact size and location of the windfarm is still being decided.
“The project size is fluid,” Chad Little explained. He is senior development manager for Apex, and was representing the wind farm project in the area. “It depends on interest in the project and interest in taking the power. the project is so early we don’t know if we have the support of community and landowners yet to offer power to anyone.”
Apex has about 1,000 megawatts under construction largely in Oklahoma and Texas, Little said, but has a variety of clean energy projects scattered across the U.S. Here in North Dakota, they’ve been holding a series of open house meetings to share information about the project and answer landowner questions. Those have been on hold for harvest, but will be returning soon.
Concurrently, studies are being conducted on such factors as transmission lines and air space studies, to ensure the development doesn’t interfere with Williston’s plans to relocate its airport.
“We are committed to responsible development and long-lasting relationships with host landowners and their communities,” Little said.
Commissioner Martin Hanson asked about meetings being held in Good Luck Township, pointing out that is a good bit north of Old Butte.
“That was just informational,” Little said. “We have a landowner there interested in putting a temporary tower there.”
Hanson also pointed out Basin Electric has a natural gas plant in the area, whose size is doubling.
“We are analyzing that as part of our study, to see what capacity is available to inject a project,” Little said. “You might find only room for 100 MW of capacity.”
Commissioner Barry Ramberg asked if the company provides any gas power.
“We don’t,” Little said. “We are mainly wind and solar at this time, strictly clean energy.”
Ramberg made a motion to approve the conditional use permit, which was seconded by Commissioner Wayne Aberle.
The measure passed on a roll call vote 3 to 2, with Hanson and Commissioner Dan Kalil voting against.
Kalil, in making his vote, added, “We just cleaned the blood off the carpet from the last planning and zoning meeting. I hate to see another one of these come down the line.”
County Commissioners had approved Lindahl wind farm on a similar 3 to 2 split in early July. That 13,000-acre project includes 75 wind towers of 492 feet about 4 miles north of Tioga. The project is expected to generate about 150 MW of power, which is under contract to Basin Electric.
Officials with that project pointed out that Bismarck-based KLJ has estimated the 43 counties in the Williston Basin need to add an additional 2,512 MW by 2032, and suggested there is plenty of room in the Bakken for additional power projects.
While the Lindahl wind project had the support of about 30 landowners who signed leases for the project, as well as a variety of others, it had also drawn a vocal segment of opposition, too, including from the city of Tioga.
The Lindahl Wind Farm is set for a formal hearing with the Public Service Commission at 9 a.m. Oct. 8 iat Neset Consulting Service, 6844 HIghway 40, in Tioga.
Williams County Commissioners also heard several other requests for conditional use permits or variances,, all of which were approved.
• A communications tower with a prefabbed shelter on 37.37 acres in Nesson Valley Township on agricultural land.
• Conditional Use permit for a single family dwelling on 66.23 acres of agricultural land in Buford Township.
• Conditional use permit for an equipment auction business located on 30 acres in Mont Township zoned agricultural. Kalil and Hanson voted against the measure, fearing it might open the area to commercial developments.
• A variance for a sewer building and line, as the building wouldn’t meet future setbacks for a road easement once the property is turned over. The property is zoned agricultural in Judson Township.
• A variance allowing reduced setback from a section line for a structure on 30 acres on property zoned industrial in Pherrin Township.
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