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More wind power

Suddenly wind farms are beginning to pop up across North Dakota, and two new projects have been announced this week in northwestern North Dakota.

One of the wind farms, called Border Winds Project, is expected to be located between Rolla and the international boundary. When completed, there will be at least 23 turbines capable of producing a total of about 40 megawatts of electricity.

The second project will be called Frey Winds, which is in Ward County south of Berthold. That project, although much smaller than the Rolette County initiative, would generate at least 16 megawatts of power.
George Youngerman, the director of the Rolette County Job Development Authority in Rolla, said Wednesday that a memorandum of agreement has been signed with a Winnipeg company called Sequoia Energy Inc. to develop the feasibility of Border Winds in two townships north of Rolla.
He said the intent is to attract significant rural development that ideally would create as many as 300 construction jobs in the community of about 1,300.
"We're assuming up to 300 jobs," Youngerman said. "We have some hurdles to cross first. We have to consider land negotiations, which, in turn, will determine how many turbines go up, which will determine the amount of electricity produced. It's a sequential process."
Youngerman said a power purchase agreement is also key to... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

One of the wind farms, called Border Winds Project, is expected to be located between Rolla and the international boundary. When completed, there will be at least 23 turbines capable of producing a total of about 40 megawatts of electricity.

The second project will be called Frey Winds, which is in Ward County south of Berthold. That project, although much smaller than the Rolette County initiative, would generate at least 16 megawatts of power.
George Youngerman, the director of the Rolette County Job Development Authority in Rolla, said Wednesday that a memorandum of agreement has been signed with a Winnipeg company called Sequoia Energy Inc. to develop the feasibility of Border Winds in two townships north of Rolla.
He said the intent is to attract significant rural development that ideally would create as many as 300 construction jobs in the community of about 1,300.
"We're assuming up to 300 jobs," Youngerman said. "We have some hurdles to cross first. We have to consider land negotiations, which, in turn, will determine how many turbines go up, which will determine the amount of electricity produced. It's a sequential process."
Youngerman said a power purchase agreement is also key to the success of this project, but added there's already a power line nearby that could influence success. He said a transmission line that runs from Harvey north across the border would make it logical for Manitoba Hydro to purchase the electricity.
If Border Winds materializes, it would be fashioned after a similar project Sequoia currently has under construction in St. Leon, Man., about 80 miles southwest of Winnipeg.
St. Leon is Canada's largest non-utility owned project, and Border Winds would be the first North Dakota system developed by a Canadian firm.
"We're working in an area where we're familiar with the wind regime," said Bob Spensley, the CEO of Sequoia. "We're working with the community of Rolla and Rolette County to establish the feasibility of this project."
Spensley said thus far there have been cooperative and neighborly exchanges between his Canadian company and Rolla officials. He said he doesn't want to get hopes up too high because some of the economics still need to be worked out. But given a favorable feasibility, Spensley looks forward to an enjoyable relationship in North Dakota.
According to Youngerman, Border Winds would likely hit a near-term capacity of 100 megawatts with expansion capabilities of up to 70 turbines that could generate 300 megawatts of electricity at the project's peak.
Youngerman said it's anticipated that Border Winds could easily provide enough electricity to power Rolla and Rolette County, but whether or not that happens, will depend on a power purchase agreement.
"There's plenty of power," Youngerman said. "Whether it will power Rolla and Rolette County, I'm not the engineer type to answer that question."
Youngerman said officials are currently jumping through the hoops and Sequoia is in the process of developing a U.S. entity so it is easier for the Canadian company to do business in North Dakota.
"Ideally, we'd like to be operational by next year, but realistically, we have to negotiate with land owners, we have to get a power purchase agreement and we need the Public Service Commission's blessing," Youngerman said. "It's just too soon to judge and the availability of turbines is getting tighter. It's a little risky to put a timetable on it."
Frey Winds is similar to Border Winds in that research and wind monitoring have been going on for about three years.
Jim Schaeffer, president of Consolidated Power Producers Inc., Huron, S.D., said a site has been identified nine miles south of Berthold that belongs to Wayne and Teri Gill, an Ohio couple who plan to retire to Ward County and oversee the building of the wind farm.
Theoretically, according to Schaeffer, the electricity produced at Frey Winds would be sold to Basin Electric; however, a power purchase agreement is yet to be worked out.
"Tests have been done and they're satisfactory,'' Schaeffer said. "Now, we're into the next stage, which is documentation and research of the environment and geology. A cost study has been prepared and we will now look at engineering. It's a step-by-step process.''
According to Schaeffer, the Berthold area is an excellent spot for wind turbines to be located. He said as of now, everyone involved has been cooperative including the rural electric cooperatives.
Schaeffer said the Gills are in the process of moving to Berthold or Carpio, or as near to the project as they can find a home.
"The Gills will be an integral part of this,'' Schaeffer said. "It will be hands on for them.''
Schaeffer added that in addition to a footprint price that the landowner receives for placing turbines on his property, the Gills can anticipate some profit as the burden of building costs will be placed on CPPI.
Schaeffer said the winter's first blizzard is a major selling point for wind power because any place that has wind turbines can produce electricity during a storm of the magnitude that shut down eastern South Dakota on Sunday.
In fact, Schaeffer said his office in Huron remained without power Wednesday afternoon, but a wind project going on in nearby Chamberlain, S.D., was generating electricity for the 2,500 people of that South Dakota community.
Schaeffer said he got involved in wind potential in North Dakota because the state of North Dakota has put on wind shows and while manning his booth at a Fargo exhibition, he met the Gills.
Production tax credits have also assisted his drive. Schaeffer, who owns a second company called Cimarron Power and Light Systems, is also building projects in Vermillion, S.D., and Baker, Mont.
But Schaeffer's interest in North Dakota goes back many years as well. At one time he represented an Aberdeen, S.D., company that made trips to North Dakota to set up direct current wind chargers.
He said that's essentially what individual farms were fitted with in the 1940s, many of the systems providing lights for the house and the barn and some of them powering milk machines.
"It's an old concept, but with today's technology in turbines, we can produce a lot of power,'' Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer, however, was reluctant to put a timeline on getting Frey Winds operational. Once an attachment agreement is made, there's an interim period of about six months for legal work and construction, then equipment is purchased and put in place. Ideally, the project could be in business by late next year, but he isn't promising that.
He is hoping though, that other landowners in the Berthold area become involved with the project on the farm to market road between the Gills' property and the substation.

mbaker@ndweb.com

Source: http://www.minotdailynews.c...

DEC 2 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/571-more-wind-power
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