BISMARCK, N.D. (Prairie Public Radio) – The owners of a wind farm near Valley City want to re-power the existing farm, by installing larger turbines and bigger blades.
But the North Dakota Public Service Commission isn’t yet ready to give it the go-ahead.
The Ashtabula Wind Energy Center was built by NextEra Energy. Part of the farm was sold to Otter Tail Power. NextEra wants to raise the capacity from its part of the center from the current 148.5 megawatts to 160.4 megawatts.
Commissioner Randy Christmann asked that a decision be postponed. He says he has some concerns about potential re-powering in the future. He says the company wants to drop any reference to capacity numbers from the proposed Commission order.
But Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says the Legislature several sessions ago passed what’s known as the “footprint” law – in that an energy company that gets a siting permit will be able to do pretty much anything it wants, as long as it is within that siting footprint.
Christmann responded that the law also says the PSC must make sure there is “orderly” development of energy facilities – and he worries about congestion on the power grid.
The PSC will hold a “work session” on the matter.