Library from North Dakota
An energy developer has silenced an attorney who supports a ban on confidentiality agreements in wind leases by complaining to the Nevada utility that employs her, the lawyer's mother says. ...In its present form, the legislation would bar wind companies from requiring landowners to keep silent about the details of their contracts with wind developers.
Wind tower maker DMI Industries Inc., says it has cut 100 more workers due to declining demand from customers. DMI spokeswoman Belinda Forknell said Tuesday that the latest cuts, along with 60 cuts made in January, leave about 200 people working at the West Fargo plant.
The howling prairie gales that blow almost continually across this flat and empty state could, it has been estimated, light up a quarter of America. If there was one industry whose bright future looked assured, it was green energy, and particularly wind, which is widely regarded as the most promising alternative to fossil fuels. However, just as its fortunes soared last year, so they are on the wane now.
A British consultancy has been hired to prospect for European companies willing to build wind turbines or supply parts for them in North Dakota, a state official says. The seven-month, $28,000 contract with Deyton Bell Ltd., of Cambridge, England, is intended to develop business leads for North Dakota officials to follow up, said Shane Goettle, director of the state Department of Commerce.
The subcommittee of the Stutsman County Zoning and Planning Commission has completed its work on a proposed zoning ordinance concerning commercial wind farms in the county. Now the debate moves on to the full zoning and planning commission ..."The two big items for the full board to make a decision on are the fees and the setbacks," said Noel Johnson, Stutsman County chief operating officer and a zoning administrator.
Stutsman County officials should not be cowed by a wind developer whose business model condones theft of wind rights or be misled by a state legislator. They are to be commended for trying to protect landowner rights and safeguard the reputation of a growing and beneficial wind industry. If only our Dickey County Commission, the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the Legislative Assembly would show similar leadership.
The Stutsman County Commission heard information from one of the leading wind farm developers in the nation during its regular meeting Tuesday. ...A principle point of contention in the proposed Stutsman County wind zoning ordinance is a requirement that all wind turbines be set back a distance of five rotor diameters from property lines unless neighboring property owners have signed waivers.
The subcommittee of the Stutsman County Planning and Zoning Commission continued work on a zoning ordinance to regulate commercial wind farms in the county Thursday. In what was intended to be the final meeting of the subcommittee, it made changes regarding safety issues concerning meteorological towers, placed a decibel limit on the noise generated by the turbine, added a cap on the site application fee, removed expiration dates for site authority and defined road testing.
A Colorado company with backers in Britain has leased more than 5,000 acres in northwestern North Dakota to mine salt and store wind. Denver-based Dakota Salts LLC says it wants to use voids created by mining in Burke County to store compressed air to be sold to wind farms to generate electricity. The mining caverns also could store carbon dioxide from North Dakota's coal-burning power plants or natural gas from the state's oil fields, the company said.
Members of a subcommittee of the Stutsman County Zoning Board took another step toward creating the first county wind farm zoning ordinance in North Dakota. The group met Thursday and discussed definitions and policies of the planned ordinance. "The county is not looking to manage locations as far as tower to tower," said Fritz Fremgen, Stutsman County state's attorney. "We are looking to create a setback between occupied structures and property boundaries."
A Stutsman County Zoning Board subcommittee is continuing its work to draft a wind zoning ordinance. During a meeting Thursday it heard presentations from Kevin Cramer, public service commissioner for North Dakota, and people involved with the wind industry. Of concern to the subcommittee is the issue of setbacks or the distance that wind turbines must be from the property of others not involved in the project and the distance that wind turbines must be from occupied structures.
Wind tower manufacturer DMI Industries says it is cutting about 20 percent of its work force due to declining demand from developers struggling to get financing for wind projects. About 60 people at the company's West Fargo plant will lose their jobs. Monday's announcement came six months after Fargo-based DMI announced a major expansion to add 350 jobs plants in West Fargo and Oklahoma. The cuts will be spread across DMI's three sites in West Fargo, Tulsa, Okla., and Fort Erie, Ontario.
A representative from the energy company that built the Peak Road wind farm asked the Barnes County Commission for permission to run some heavy loads over the road next spring. ...FPL in North Dakota will receive deliveries of wind tower components originally intended for other states, and needs a place to store them until new project locations are chosen.
A wind turbine blade maker in Grand Forks is bracing for a slowdown in production in 2009. LM Glasfiber Plant Manager Bill Burga says the Lunderskov, Denmark-based company has told him to prepare for a slowdown and possible layoffs.
The transmission project "will likely require more than 1,000 miles (1,610 km) of new extra-high voltage transmission lines at a cost of between $5 billion and $10 billion," AEP said. The Midwest Independent System Operator, which manages transmission lines in the region, must approve the project. The new lines would connect 2,000 megawatts of wind power in Hartland Wind Farm project in North Dakota, near the western terminus of the proposed lines, AEP said.
Fremgen said by increasing the setback from landowners not under contract you force the wind farm developer to get contracts from any landowner that would be close enough to the turbine to have their wind resource affected. "The other issue is roads," Johnson said. "These towers take about 360 tons of concrete and are put up with 280-ton cranes. The companies always reassure the people that they will recondition the roads but how do we make sure?" The board agreed to continue with the development of an ordinance.
Separately, Otter Tail seeks to charge customers who will get wind-generated power from its portion of the new Ashtabula Wind Farm a separate fee above the usual rates. ...[the]proposed increase is known as a "renewable resource cost recovery rider 2009." Under state law, utilities are allowed to charge extra for the cost of generating electricity through alternative forms such as wind farms.
Otter Tail Power Co. wants to increase a special charge to electric customers that helps pay for its wind energy projects. ...Otter Tail is asking North Dakota's Public Service Commission to increase the charge, starting Jan. 1. It would raise the payment from $1.45 to $3.83 monthly.
A public hearing on wind facilities is slated for 5:30 p.m. Thursday before the Morton County Planning and Zoning Board at the commission room of the Morton County Courthouse. In preparation for the meeting, a Planning and Zoning Subcommittee sifted through a wind generator policy and the application process this week. According to County Auditor Paul Trauger, no applications for wind facilities have been received for generators, but there have been five inquiries.
North Dakota regulators say a proposed 2,000-megawatt wind farm will be one of the world's largest wind energy projects.