Update on North Dakota wind farm projects

Here are few updates on one approved and one cancelled slice-and-dice project in North Dakota.

First, an update on the damage from wind turbines – 5/6 – Million Dollar Way – Great Prarie-Chickens Demand Wind-Turbine Free Zones – Researchers studying prairie-chicken nests, called leks, over a five-year period found that the leks are more likely to be abandoned within 8 km of slice-and-dicer turbines. More evidence of the environmental damage from wind power, which is an expected consequence.

About that cancelled project – I’ve previously mentioned Dickinson Wind, LLC was trying to get permits for an 87-turbine wind farm.

4/7 – Dickinson Press – Wind farm proposal spins controversy – Public comments over a proposed wind farm owned by Dickinson Wind LLC (sub of NextEra Energy Resources) produced heated objections. In addition to the noise of turbines being audible a few thousand feet away, new concerns were raised.

Commenters pointed out that lots of farms are boarded up in areas surrounded by turbines. The concern is the presence of turbines stops growth and shrinks local communities. Rural communities don’t need extra pressures to create shrinkage.

Mayor of one city is asking for a three-mile setback from any city limits. One request that I know will never go anywhere is a one-year permit for slice-and-dicers.

6/17 -KQCD – Company Withdraws Wind Farm Application from PSC – They got lots of public opposition and the County commission rejected their conditional use permit.

They have now withdrawn their application. They have to start from scratch if they want to try again.

5/27 – Dickinson Press – Long-in-making southern ND wind farm approved – The PSC approved the Merricourt Wind Farm in southeast part of the state. It will have 75 turbines at 2 mW each for theoretical capacity of 150 mW. At 18% capture that means it will produce on average around 27 mW.

The projects owner, EDF Renewable Energy, had reworked the project from 100 slice-and-dicers at 1.5 mW to 75 at 2 mW, which plan has now been approved.

Article mentions, almost in passing, that the project owner will be trying to get incidental take permits from FWS. That would let them off the hook from killing a whooping crane or other endangered species bird once in a while. They will pay for the privilege by doing something to protect habitat.

As I mentioned last December, the incidental take permit is quite important because these turbines are in the migration path for whooping cranes, which are on the endangered species list. There are reportedly 300 left in the wild.

That means the 300 whooping cranes that get past the 225 spinning blades twice a year would have more places to nest.

Offing endangered species is an anticipated consequence of wind power. Killing a whooping crane one in a while is the expected result.

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