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Wind project could be expanding

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wind Dickinson, 58602
The Dickinson Press
(701) 225-4205 customer support
Dickinson North Dakota 1815 1st Street West 58602

DICKINSON - A previously announced wind power project in southwestern North Dakota around Gascoyne has grown to possibly include an area near New England and Elgin.

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Ryan Segley, project manager for Crownbutte Wind Power LLC, said the company is currently waiting to see if there is enough room on transmission lines in the southwestern part of the state for the energy generated by the wind turbines.

"We're waiting for the queue process to see if they can get us on the transmission lines down there," Segley said. "You basically work back from transmission capacity or what you think is the transmission capacity for that area."

In order to check transmission availability, Crownbutte put in a request for information with Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO). MISO keeps track of transmission line traffic and how much space is available on lines throughout the Midwest.

There are several different transmission lines that would be used if the project went forward and MISO measures the impact.

"Basically, you have to put in an application and they do a study of what the impact to the grid that power generation would cause," Segley said.

The two projects at Gascoyne, Gascoyne I and Gascoyne II, would produce 20 megawatts and 200 megawatts of power, respectively. The additional projects mentioned at New England and Elgin would produce 60 and 20 megawatts, respectively.

To put that into perspective, one megawatt of power can provide electricity for 240-300 houses. The 300 megawatts generated by these wind farms could produce enough power for 72,000 houses.

The Gascoyne II wind farm most likely is to be comprised of 100 individual 2.0-megawatt turbines. In the past, 20-megawatt fields have utilized 13 individual 1.5-megawatt turbines.

Turbines range from 60-80 meters in height with rotor diameters of 70-90 meters.

Crownbutte is excited about the prospects for wind power in the region Segley said, adding there is plenty of wind.

"The wind blows all the time," he said.

Segley said the communities have been extremely supportive of the potential energy development.

"The community, or more so the landowners, have been very receptive to the ideas," Segley said. "And that kind of project would create some kind of economic stimulus for those areas."

Segley said due to continual maintenance being required on the turbines, a small number of jobs would also be created in the areas surrounding the wind generator sites.

If everything goes as planned, Crownbutte hopes to start construction in early 2009.

"We're shooting for that," Segley said. "It all depends on how this interconnection issue gets cleared up. That's out goal; we'll see what happens."

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