Cooperstown, N.D., wind farm may have to wait until November
COOPERSTOWN, N.D. -- The Luverne Wind Farm may have to wait until November or later for final approval. The North Dakota Public Service Commission indicated Monday that the 157.5-megawatt wind farm may not be approved until M-Power, LLC, the comm...
COOPERSTOWN, N.D. -- The Luverne Wind Farm may have to wait until November or later for final approval.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission indicated Monday that the 157.5-megawatt wind farm may not be approved until M-Power, LLC, the community-owned developer, completes archaeological and wetlands surveys -- and that may not be until after the fall harvest.
M-Power asked that the wind farm siting be approved, contingent on cultural and wetlands survey results and other data meeting state regulations.
"Sometimes it's easier for the commission to wait until we get all of that information, rather than to site, pending contingencies before we get those results," PSC Chairwoman Susan Wefald said.
If the late-filing documents are submitted in September, Wefald said, the PSC could meet in a public work session in Bismarck in late September. A better timetable to consider final approval should emerge from that session.
M-Power is proposing to build the wind farm in two sections, a 33-turbine North Farm, which will total 49.5 megawatts, and a 72-turbine (108 megawatts) South Farm, located in southwestern Steele County, stretching a short distance into Griggs County. Each windmill will be powered by General Electric 1.5-kilowatt turbines.
The entire facility will cover 32 sections of land along the Pembina Escarpment, about 1,500 feet above sea level. The southern-most portion of the farm is located just north of Luverne, N.D.
The wind farm will deliver electricity through a 33-mile transmission line that connects to a Minnkota Power Cooperative line near Pillsbury, N.D.
Earlier this month, Otter Tail Power Co., Fergus Falls, Minn., announced it will buy the 49.5-megawatt North Farm, once it is construction-ready.
M-Power is negotiating with companies for a similar agreement for the South Farm.
M-Power, which has 75 landowner-investors and another 70 investors, wants final approval this fall so construction can begin this year and both wind farms can become operational in 2009, according to Warren Enyart, M-Power secretary-treasurer, who testified Monday.
Despite verbal testimony and assurances on several issues, the PSC also asked
M-Power to complete a series of late-filing documents to address several areas, including:
n Distance between wind turbines and the wind farm boundary. M-Power said it will be 1,000 feet to one-quarter mile (1,320 ft).
- Distance between turbines and residences.
M-Power said wind turbines will be a minimum of 1,400 feet from any residence.
- Wind turbine noise. The noise generated by the turbines will be in the 35- to 45-decible range at a distance of 1,400 feet, according to testimony.
n Depths of buried collector lines. M-Power testified that all collector lines will be buried at a minimum of 48 inches.
- Overlay map showing the footprint of the wind farm and the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline, being built through North Dakota to send crude oil from Alberta to Illinois and Oklahoma, will run through the wind farm's footprint. Enyart said where the wind farm collector lines cross the pipeline right-of-way, they'll be buried under the pipeline.