North Dakota

PSC approves $390M wind farm in Logan and McIntosh counties; vote not unanimous

The North Dakota Public Service Commission voted 2-1 Wednesday to approve a $390 million wind farm proposed near Wishek in southern North Dakota.

Orsted Onshore North America plans to complete the Badger Wind project by October 2023. It will consist of 74 turbines with an output of 250 megawatts – enough energy to supply 70,000 households with electricity.

The project in Logan and McIntosh counties will include wind turbines, access roads, electrical and communications infrastructure, a transmission line, up to three permanent meteorological rating towers, an aircraft detection lighting system and an operations and maintenance facility.

Commissioner Randy Christmann voted against the site request, citing in part that additional power generation in the area could cause grid reliability issues.

“More power is good as long as you have enough transmission to get it where it’s needed. In this case, this area in this south-central part of North Dakota, the transmission system is very congested… Not all current generators can get their power where it can be used, and that’s contributing to that,” said Christmann and adding that this could have “a very significant and adverse impact” on taxpayers.

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PSC Chair Julie Fedorchak said the company had conducted the necessary wildlife and archaeological impact studies.

“I feel that at this point the application is reaching the threshold that has minimal impact on citizens and warrants a site attestation,” said Fedorchak.

Fedorchak also addressed coal industry concerns in a previous hearing, saying she also has concerns about the impact of shutting down coal plants on grid reliability “and the impact that new renewable energy is having on that as well.”

“However, these are not issues that need to be addressed in the North Dakota Siting Act,” she said. “The Site Act was designed to provide … a thoughtful, orderly, and stable pathway for the development of our state’s abundant energy resources in a manner that minimizes the impact on the environment and the people who live off and with that energy infrastructure. minimized.”

You can reach Jackie Jahfetson at 701-250-8252 or at [email protected].

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