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Basin Electric removes 2 of North Dakota’s first wind turbines 

Credit:  Amy R. Sisk | The Bismarck Tribune | Mar 14, 2022 | bismarcktribune.com ~~

Two of North Dakota’s oldest wind turbines came down Monday.

The turbines at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Minot Wind facility are among the first in the state to stop operating. The co-op constructed them 20 years ago next to U.S. Highway 83 south of Minot.

“The turbines are being taken down because they are at the end of their useful life, and parts and service are no longer available,” said Joe Fiedler, Basin Electric’s manager of distributed generation. “While it is possible to repower wind turbines in many instances, these two cannot be repowered because their foundations are not large enough to support the larger equipment that would be necessary.”

Other wind farms in North Dakota have been repowered with updated parts such as new blades when they age.

Basin Electric hired a contractor to remove the turbines using a technique known as “chop and drop,” spokesperson Tracie Bettenhausen said. The process involves removing bolts in the turbine and cutting a notch in its base, then running a cable to the top that is attached to equipment on the ground.

The equipment pulled the cable to tip over the turbines. It took 12 seconds for the first turbine to hit the ground, Bettenhausen said. The towers stood 200 feet tall.

The contractor will now cut up the turbines into smaller pieces. Some parts can be salvaged, while others will go to a landfill, Bettenhausen said. The removal cost is $250,000.

Other work such as removing the foundations and remaining cables will take place when the rest of the wind farm is done operating years down the road. Basin Electric built the two turbines in 2002, then installed 80 others in the vicinity in 2009.

The two turbines that came down were smaller than the rest and stood out because their towers were light blue, not the usual white color seen on turbines elsewhere at the site and throughout the state. They stood just east of the highway.

Basin Electric installed them with Central Power Electric Cooperative because members were interested in getting into wind energy, Bettenhausen said.

“We built two turbines at Chamberlain, South Dakota, and two up here south of Minot as our first foray into wind,” she said.

Wind developers constructed several other small projects in North Dakota in the following years. The industry began to take off on a bigger scale in North Dakota around 2008, when four wind farms came online with a combined 250 turbines, state data shows. Since then, companies have put up thousands of towers across the state.

At least one other wind turbine has come down in North Dakota. The Public Service Commission last year ordered that operator Minnesota Power move it because it was too close to a house in Oliver County.

Source:  Amy R. Sisk | The Bismarck Tribune | Mar 14, 2022 | bismarcktribune.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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