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Company eyes Billings County for 115-turbine wind farm

A wind turbine is seen in North Dakota. (Thinkstock Photo)

MEDORA—Wind energy has been a topic of much conversation in western North Dakota and it looks like the conversation is far from over.

Orion Renewable Energy Group is seeking to build a wind farm in northern Billings County.

The California company began speaking to landowners on the possibility of bringing a wind farm to the area two years ago, Orion's associate project manager Andrew Makee said in an email.

The company is planning for the wind farm to have 115 turbines location and generate 250 megawatts of power. Makee did not give the proposed location for the wind farm, other than it would be in northern Billings County.

Recently, NextEra Energy Resources' proposed Brady Wind Energy Center I in southern Stark County and Brady Wind II in northern Hettinger County went before the state Public Service Commission after being approved by the county commissioners and planning and zoning boards.

Stacey Swanson, Billings County zoning inspector, said Orion has not filed a conditional use permit with the county yet.

Makee said Orion has completed most of its land leasing and environmental studies, which they will present to the Billings County commission this summer.

If approved at the county level, they would file an application with the PSC by the end of 2016.

Makee said he believes the project wouldn't be completed until the end of 2017 at the earliest.

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