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Wind turbines dot the landscape around Courtenay, N.D. Forum News Service file photo

Developer of rejected North Dakota wind farm planning new proposal

BISMARCK — The developer of a wind farm in northwest North Dakota that state regulators recently rejected is planning to submit a new proposal, a spokesperson said Wednesday, Aug. 14.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission denied NextEra Energy Resources' request for a siting permit in June amid opposition from state and federal wildlife agencies. The developer sought to build a 200-megawatt wind farm in Burke County north of Powers Lake consisting of up to 76 turbines on 23,000 acres.

The PSC found the project would have an unacceptable level of "adverse effects" on animal health and safety. It would also have negatively affected wetlands, which agency rules protect from energy facilities. The Republican commissioners said it was the first time they remembered denying a siting permit for any energy facility during their tenures.

A NextEra spokesperson said Wednesday the developer is working with local and state stakeholders and plans to submit a new application to the PSC in the fall.

"We look forward to building a wind project which will bring great benefits, including good jobs and economic growth to the local area," the spokesperson said in an email.

Greg Link, chief of conservation and communications for the state Game and Fish Department, said they've been in talks with project developers about amending their plans. Though NextEra is eyeing the same general area, Link said state wildlife officials are "feeling a lot better about the project."

"It still comes with impacts, and they at this point are telling us they're going to address the impacts," he said. "That all remains to be seen."

Link said his department will provide input to the PSC once NextEra solidifies its final plans.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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