NextEra still searching for potential wind farm location in southwest ND

NEW ENGLAND — The company that withdrew its application to build a $250 million wind farm in eastern Stark County isn’t giving up on southwest North Dakota.

A spokesperson for Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources said Thursday that it is “looking at multiple options” in the area for a future wind project.

“That’s about as specific as I can be at this point,” Steven Stengel, NextEra’s director of communications, said Thursday in an email to The Press. He added that NextEra is continuing to speak with its stakeholders about projects that will address their concerns.

North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk said Thursday he has yet to see anything offi cial, but knows NextEra is looking for a new site for its wind farm the Stark County Commission rejected in May.

“NextEra has informed us they’re looking at multiple locations and all of those locations are south of where they were looking at before,” Kalk said.

Hettinger County Auditor Jeri Schmidt said Thursday there had recently been a landman searching through records and maps at the county’s courthouse for “something about windmills” east of New England. She did not know if that person worked for NextEra.

Jason Jung, New England’s auditor, said Friday morning that a surveying crew has been working a couple miles east of the city for several days, though he said he hadn’t heard anything about a potential wind farm in the area.

Under the name Dickinson Wind LLC, NextEra applied for an 87-turbine wind farm in March and for an associated transmission line in April.

The wind farm would have stretched from Gladstone to Richardton along Interstate 94, while a 33-mile transmission line would have run south of I-94 to Belfi eld to bring power to an existing Basin Electric Power Cooperative transmission system. Bismarck-based Basin Electric had agreed to a 30-year purchase agreement for 150 megawatts of energy, according to a Press article published in April.

However, after landowner pushback, the Stark County Commission rejected a conditional use permit for the wind farm on May 5. The fi rst reading of the project had been approved by the county’s planning and zoning board on April 30.

“They’re committed to building it,” Kalk said. “They’ve just got to fi nd the right spot. We wait to see what their application looks like.”

Author: Dustin Monke

Former newspaper editor. Now I market the best baked goods and donuts in America. But every once in a while, I write a cool story too.

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