Library from North Dakota
EDF Renewable Energy (EDF RE), has lost another battle over its 150-MW Merricourt wind project in North Dakota after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week confirmed termination of the project's grid contract.
"Of the 40 landowners who agreed to have turbines, half are residents and half are absentee owners,” said Reichert, adding that the group is holding out for deeper setbacks, so turbines would have to be located 2,000 feet from a property line, not from a residence. “Otherwise, that residence is being used to make up the setback and we think that’s easement trespass,” Reichert said.
I am ashamed of how our county has not protected these people. According to our county ordinances, a wind turbine can be placed within 2,000 feet of a home! Not a property line, but that close to your front door! ...It’s not only absurd, it’s criminal.
The hearing on the wind farm is now scheduled for 8 a.m. March 30 at Dickinson City Hall, while a hearing on the transmission line will be held at 5 p.m. that same day. The 87-turbine, 150-megawatt wind farm would stretch across the south side of the county between Dickinson and New England.
In its petition to intervene filed on Feb. 12, the citizen group claims that details in an application submitted to the state for a certificate of site compatibility by the wind farm’s parent company, NextEra Energy Resources, does not comply with either North Dakota law or Stark County ordinances.
“It’s [the petition] not designed to stop the wind farm,” Wert said. “It’s just designed to protect the people that don’t want one really close to their place of residence.” The way the ordinance is set up, a person could have their house adjacent to the property line.
Commissioners say the choice for green energy was one of the most difficult decisions they've made. No matter what was decided on the wind farm, commissioners say one group would have left unhappy.
The Stark County Commission voted unanimously to stop accepting applications for wind farm conditional-use permits for a period of two years at a regular meeting Tuesday at Stark County Courthouse. The move comes after the commission approved the 87-turbine Brady Wind Energy Center
A muffled groan could be heard from members of the audience as Stark County Commissioner Jay Elkin voted “aye,” the third and deciding vote that approved a conditional-use permit for a wind farm to be erected in southern Stark County. Both the Stark County Commission and Planning and Zoning Board convened at respective special and regular meetings Tuesday morning at Stark County Courthouse to vote on the Brady Wind Energy Center proposed by Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources.
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.