The North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) recently approved a siting permit for the Brady II Wind Energy Center in Hettinger and Stark Counties. The permit approved is for Brady Wind II, LLC, a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, to construct and operate the Brady II Wind Energy Center and associated facilities.
The wind farm will have a capacity of about 150 MW, and will consist of up to 72 wind turbines. All wind turbines are proposed to be located in Hettinger County. The facilities located in Stark County include underground electrical collection systems and cables. Total cost of the wind project is estimated at $250 million.
As part of the order, the company has agreed to a turbine setback of 2,000 feet from inhabited residences in accordance with the setback required by Stark County, which is more restrictive than Hettinger County. They have also agreed to a turbine setback of 2,640 feet from the inhabited residences of all non-participating landowners and a turbine setback of 953 feet from any non-participating landowner’s property line.
“Each wind project is unique in some way and the Commission continues to work through issues within our jurisdiction to find the best solution for each project and at the same time respecting the role of the counties in the process,” said Commissioner Brian Kalk, who holds the Electric Generation and Transmission portfolio. “As wind projects continue to come before us, we are committed to continue working with the Association of Counties to plan ahead for all types of energy development.”
As part of an effort to reduce the visual impact of blinking lights on wind turbines, the Commission has also included a provision in the order that the company use a new lighting system, subject to FAA approval. The lighting system detects when aircrafts are in the area and turns on only when needed. When an aircraft is not detected, the lights are not on.
The company has agreed to implement these new lights as soon as possible, but no later than December 31, 2018. The Commission has included this new requirement in several recently approved wind projects.
“This wind facility and the Brady I project include features that are the direct result of public input, including more restrictive setbacks from non-participants in the area and a new lighting feature that will allow the facility to generate without permanently changing the area’s beautiful night sky,” said Commission Chairman Julie Fedorchak.
Other important factors included in the order include:
• No potentially occupied or occupied eagle nests are located within the survey area. The company has agreed to continue to coordinate with the North Dakota Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding any new developments regarding nesting sites and eagle-related impacts.
• The North Dakota State Historical Preservation Office concurred with a “no significant sites affected” recommendation. • Noise studies comply with the Commission’s requirement that sounds levels within 100 feet of an inhabited residence or community building not exceed 50 decibels unless a waiver is obtained.
• Both on-site and corporate personnel will be available to address landowner concerns, and participating landowners will be provided with written contact information.
The project will be constructed on approximately 17,762 acres in northern Hettinger County, and approximately 2,554 acres in Stark County. It is estimated that permanent structures will occupy approximately 74 acres during operation. The project will be located adjacent to the southern boundary of the Brady Wind project, which was approved by the Commission on June 16, 2016.
The first Brady Wind project will consist of up to 87 turbines with a 150 MW capacity in Stark County approximately 15 miles south of Dickinson. The Commission also on that date approved a 230-kilovolt transmission line, which will serve both projects. The North Dakota Public Service Commission is a constitutionally created state agency with authority to permit, site and regulate certain business activities in the state including electric and gas utilities, telecommunications companies, power plants, electric transmission lines, pipelines, railroads, grain elevators, auctioneers, commercial weighing devices, pipeline safety, and coal mine reclamation.
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