Library from North Dakota
The project originally had been located 2 miles north of Tioga. It was moved to 4 miles away after city officials voiced concerns about the future growth of the city to the north being impacted by a wind farm that close. Tioga City Commission President Drake McClelland said he appreciated the project being moved further north but expressed concern it could still impact future city growth to the north, which is where single-family housing would work best.
Rolette Power was first informed of bald eagles in the area in 2013 and initially made “a good effort” to work with the FWS to address the issue. But [the service] hasn’t heard from them since December 2014 and they haven’t provided an eagle use study, which the service recommends should take two years to determine where the eagles spend their time.
Most know North Dakota as an oil-producing state, becoming the second leading oil-producing state behind Texas because of the Bakken oil boom. Taking back seat to oil, though, is another energy-producing boom, wind farms.
The company has regrouped since its first project in Stark County failed and is proposing an alternative two-part project it's referring to as Brady Wind Energy Center 1, which would be in Stark County. Another likely project, called Brady Wind Energy 2, would be located in Hettinger County.
Are bald eagles at risk from wind turbines likely to be erected south of Rolette? That's a question that sparked a second hearing by the Public Service Commission today regarding a wind farm proposal.
Bald eagles have put the brakes on a proposed wind farm in North Dakota as state regulators seek input on how the towers with their spinning blades could impact the national bird.
There were many other concerns that commissioners also dealt with during the 9-hour hearing for northwestern North Dakota’s first proposed wind farm. A big one for Commissioner Brian P. Kalk, which he announced at the beginning of the hearing, is that the wind farm sits right in the middle of a whooping crane flyway. “This is not the first,” he said, “and it’s something we were able to work through, but I will be interested to see what you have planned for that.”
Stephanie Vagts, who lives about one mile from one of the proposed turbines, said the community can’t endure another construction crew building more access roads when the area is “already bursting at the seams.” “We’ve already sacrificed enough for energy,” Vagts said. Resident Kathy Hove said she doesn’t want to look at the wind towers and she’s concerned about how the wind farm will affect the community.
PSC member Brian Kalk said he believed issues related to whooping cranes and eagles will have to be dealt with in deciding if and where the turbines would be erected. PSC Chair Julie Fedorchak said those and many other issues will be closely looked at before any permits are issued for the project.
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.”
Prematurely shutting down plants would strand these substantial investments, meaning consumers will have to pay for the expenses associated with that plant while paying the additional costs for new power plant assets. As an industry, we can find new, innovative technology to make strides toward reducing carbon emissions. It just takes time. Unfortunately, the EPA’s plan gives us no time and ties up all investment dollars in building new power plants fueled by a different source.
The U.S. Geological Survey on Monday said wind farms "placed in prime wildlife habitat in North and South Dakota can influence the distribution of several species of grassland birds for years after construction, including species whose populations are in serious decline."
The Williams County Commission voted in favor of a 75-turbine wind farm four miles north of Tioga, signing off on a project that has divided landowners during Tuesday’s meeting.
The commission voted three to two to approve. The Lindahl Wind Project, designed to harness the wind throughout Lindahl, Tioga and Sauk Valley townships and turn it into electricity. ...Two weeks ago, the project was denied by the Williams County Planning and Zoning. But the commission's approval overrides planning and zoning's decision.
The Williams County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the Williams County Commission deny the applicant’s request for a conditional use permit on agricultural land and a separate variance request from setback requirements. Meanwhile, the applicant must also get approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission before moving forward.
Several landowners in opposition told the planning and zoning board not to forget Tradewind Energy and eventually Enel Green Power North America will receive millions of dollars in state-initiated tax incentives. “I do not want to pay that money,” said Todd Beasley, a resident of Tioga, who added that he was “not against wind farms” but urged the board to vote against the variance request.
"We're asking the Public Service Commission to give us some leeway in terms of siting 59 sites. Those would accommodate six different kinds of turbines so we haven't specified in our application which of those six we would use. We want to leave that up to the potential off-taker and more importantly, the guys that have the turbines that are in this IRS safe harbor."
A windfarm north of Tioga continues to raise concerns as the project winds through the permitting process.
PSC Commissioner Brian Kalk stressed that it was the developer, not the PSC, who pushed to continue the matter. He said the PSC doesn’t have the authority or jurisdiction to override the county’s decision to reject the project. “I think that’s one of the big reasons that they need to go back to the drawing board and make sure they’ve got a project that the county likes before they even bring it to us,” he said.
Approval of the reading sparked residents to reach out and voice their opinions to county commissioners, who reported they received hundreds of phone calls within the past few days regarding the matter.