Article

PSC considers Ashtabula wind farm

While public hearings are meant to air both the positives and negatives about a project, the Public Service Commission heard nothing but good about the Ashtabula Wind Farm during a hearing held Friday at Valley City. The PSC hearing concerned the citing of a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm planned for Barnes County. During the same session the commission also took testimony on a route permit for about 9.5 miles of electric transmission line associated with the wind farm. Both are projects of Ashtabula Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, and are planned for Barnes County.

While public hearings are meant to air both the positives and negatives about a project, the Public Service Commission heard nothing but good about the Ashtabula Wind Farm during a hearing held Friday at Valley City.

The PSC hearing concerned the citing of a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm planned for Barnes County. During the same session the commission also took testimony on a route permit for about 9.5 miles of electric transmission line associated with the wind farm. Both are projects of Ashtabula Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, and are planned for Barnes County.

"I'm in favor of it," said Bob Burchill of Valley City, one of the spectators to the hearing. "In fact I haven't heard a negative from anybody. It's income for the farmers, power for the country and an increase in the tax base for the county."

One of the concerns voiced by the commission concerned another project also slated for construction this summer. The Keystone Pipeline, which will carry oil from Canada to the Midwest, will pass through the same area as the Ashtabula wind farm. This prompted Commissioner Tony Clark to say the 20 miles from Sibley to Valley City were "the most scrutinized tract... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

While public hearings are meant to air both the positives and negatives about a project, the Public Service Commission heard nothing but good about the Ashtabula Wind Farm during a hearing held Friday at Valley City.

The PSC hearing concerned the citing of a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm planned for Barnes County. During the same session the commission also took testimony on a route permit for about 9.5 miles of electric transmission line associated with the wind farm. Both are projects of Ashtabula Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, and are planned for Barnes County.

"I'm in favor of it," said Bob Burchill of Valley City, one of the spectators to the hearing. "In fact I haven't heard a negative from anybody. It's income for the farmers, power for the country and an increase in the tax base for the county."

One of the concerns voiced by the commission concerned another project also slated for construction this summer. The Keystone Pipeline, which will carry oil from Canada to the Midwest, will pass through the same area as the Ashtabula wind farm. This prompted Commissioner Tony Clark to say the 20 miles from Sibley to Valley City were "the most scrutinized tract of land in North Dakota."

Scott Scovill, project director for FPL, said safety concerns had been addressed by moving wind turbines at least 430 feet away from the pipeline. This distance is equal to the height of the wind tower with its blade fully extended and is considered the "fall zone" that would be hit were a tower to collapse.

Another concern is the effect that two major construction projects will have on the roads of the area.

"There have been some questions on how we are getting along with FPL and Keystone on roads," said Harlan Opdahl, Barnes County Commissioner and member of the zoning board, during the public comment period. "We've assigned our highway superintendent to work with them and it is working real well."

Scovill said his company was working closely with the Keystone Pipeline project on coordinating all phases of the construction of the projects including the use of haul roads.

Florida Power and Light operates five other wind farms in North Dakota.

"North Dakota has been identified as having more wind resources than any other state," Scovill said. "I've heard no concerns from landowners and we have had great cooperation from the community. North Dakota has always been awesome to work with. Very cooperative from the local level all the way up to the state."

The PSC did not make a decision at the hearing. It will receive some additional requested information from FPL in the next two weeks. After review, the commission will issue its findings. If that decision is issued soon enough, construction on the Ashtabula wind farm could start by the end of this month.

The schedule they brought before the PSC included starting construction by June 1 with testing in September and the project online by the end of the year.

The transmission line portion of the project has an estimated cost of $15 million. Construction costs of the wind farm are estimated at $348 million. When completed, the farm will employ between 10 and 12 full-time workers.

 


Source: http://www.jamestownsun.com...

MAY 3 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/14775-psc-considers-ashtabula-wind-farm
back to top