Slice-and-dice farm approved in North Dakota

A 75 turbine wind-farm has been approved near the North Dakota/South Dakota border, south of Dickinson, southwest of Bismarck.

The zoning commission and county commission approved the farm Monday (9-9-13), according to an article in the Bismarck Tribune, Adams County approved $350 million mega-wind farm near Hettinger.

Reported construction costs are $350 million, which is about $4.7 million each. That’s around one-half the cost of a Bakken oil well.  Annual lease payouts are expected to be $875K, or about $11,700 per turbine. Property taxes to the county are expected to be $650K a year.

Responding to one speaker who objected to the 360 degree view of turbines and the expected non-stop audible hum, another speaker (who will get payments for 6 turbines on his land) dismissed the complaints by saying he’d just move to town if the noise got to him. With an extra $70K a year, he could afford the nicest house in town or even a new spread several counties away. 

Estimated population of the county in 2012 is 2,311, according to the Census Bureau as mentioned in Wikipedia. Median household income is $29,079 for 1,121 households.

The lease payouts would increase median household income an average of $780. Property taxes would be equal to $580 per household or $281 per capita.

One advantage of wind over oil, according to one quoted commenter at the hearing, is that turbines don’t generate any dust or noise during construction. Apparently, the towers and blades arrive by Star Trek transporters. Heavy-duty transmission lines presumably grow themselves.

One interesting objection: in early morning or evening, the huge blades will produce shadow flicker on houses quite some distance away. On the flat prairies, something that is several hundred feet tall casts a long shadow.

I could only find a few on-line articles about the planned turbines. Don’t see any mention of how many federally protected migratory fowl are expected to be sliced-and-diced during the decades the turbines will be spinning. I hope there aren’t many eagles and other raptors in the area.

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