Minn. 'go green' mandate prompts new wind projects in N.D.
LAUREN DONOVAN Bismarck Tribune | Posted: Monday, February 1, 2010 2:50 pm |
Monday, a Minnesota company presented its case for a 230-kV transmission line in Morton and Oliver counties, crossing Lake Nelson and hooking into a major substation on the east side of the lake.
Minnesota Power, which serves the Duluth region, needs the 22-mile line to bridge new wind energy to an existing transmission line. The Public Service Commission’s hearing at Center was at the company’s request to expedite the process. No action was taken at the hearing.
Oliver County’s zoning commission OK’d a conditional use permit for the new line on agricultural land last week and the county commission will likely make it official when it meets today.
Oliver County Commissioners were at the hearing and said no one’s against the project.
Commissioner Dwaine Helmers said the county’s main concern is that the transmission line stays off the public section lines in Oliver County.
Commissioner Lee Husfloen said he hasn’t heard any negative comments about wind farms in Oliver County.
“It’s all positive,” he said.
Minnesota Power plans to build 33 turbines at the western end of the new transmission line in a project it’s calling “Bison Wind.” The wind farm will straddle the Oliver-Morton county line on the west side of Highway 31 nine miles south of Hannover.
These will be granddaddies of the turbine breed, generating 2.3 megawatts each and towering 421 feet from the ground to the tip of the blades when they’re straight up. That’s close to 200 feet higher than the Capitol building in Bismarck. They’ll start rotating at 9 mph and kick off at 56 mph.
Depending on financing, this will be just the tip of the wind farm iceberg. Minnesota Power is taking over ownership of a 500-megawatt-capable transmission line that runs from near Center into Minnesota.
Eventually, it plans to fill the line with wind-generated electricity, which would mean a future wind farm size of between 200 and 250 turbines.