- Glacier Ridge Wind Farm LLC has proposed constructing a 300 MW wind farm in Barnes County, N.D., including between 87 and 99 turbines planned to be in operation by the end of 2019.
- The project is the largest wind farm ever proposed in North Dakota, according to The Bismarck Tribune.
- However, wind projects may get a frosty reception at the PSC, as the Grand Forks Herald reports two commissioners blame wind energy for the demise of the state's coal plants, and say their loss could lead to reliability issues.
Discussion of the Glacier RIdge proposal, owned by Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc., turned to renewable energy's impact on coal plants in North Dakota at a PSC hearing this week.
According to the Tribune, Commissioner Brian Kalk said that "as we bring in more wind and as companies continue to retire coal and potentially nuclear, the reliability of the power grid, I think, is threatened." He was referring to the planned closure of the 189-MW Stanton Station plant next year, announced recently by Great River Energy.
Commissioner Randy Christmann said he does not believe low natural gas prices are behind the growing pressure on older coal plants. "I think this is a result of the large movement to wind energy," he said. "I will buy that story when I start to see baseload natural gas plants being built, but I have not seen one in this region,"
Glacier Ridge's application indicates it aims to begin construction in November. To receive the maximum tax break on the project, construction must begin this year.
Great River announced it was closing the Stanton plant last week, due to low energy prices in the region. The plant is small, with one turbine generator. The facility began operating in 1966, uses 850,000 tons of coal each year, and operates with 65 employees.
“Stanton Station has provided dependable electricity to Great River Energy’s member cooperatives for 50 years,” Great River President and CEO David Saggau said in a statement..“After careful consideration of several alternatives, it became clear that retiring the plant was in the best interest of our member cooperatives."