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Brady II goes before PSC Tuesday

NEW ENGLAND--Residents in Stark and Hettinger counties could see wind towers being constructed as early as this summer with completion of two wind farms eyed for the end of the year.

NEW ENGLAND-Residents in Stark and Hettinger counties could see wind towers being constructed as early as this summer with completion of two wind farms eyed for the end of the year.

But first, the North Dakota Public Service Commission must hear the second phase of the two-part project.

While the 87-turbine Brady Wind Energy Center I in southern Stark County is still being deliberated by the PSC, the 72-turbine Brady Wind II in northern Hettinger County will be presented to commissioners during a hearing at 9 a.m. today at New England's Memorial Hall.

Bryan Garner, spokesman for NextEra Energy Resources, said if the projects are approved, NextEra would begin construction soon after.

"Should the project receive PSC approval, we would begin construction this summer with the goal of having the wind energy center operational by the end of the year," he said.

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The Hettinger County Commission approved the proposed wind farm on April 8. Now the weight of the decision rests on the PSC.

The first phase of the project had much opposition along with proponent comments at a March PSC hearing.

The commissioners listened to more than 15 hours of testimony in Dickinson after hearing from NextEra, grassroots group the Concerned Citizens of Stark County and area residents and landowners.

The Concerned Citizens will not be officially intervening with the Brady II project. However, their spokesman, Tom Reichert, said he and others from the group will be in attendance.

Garner said in preparation for the hearing, NextEra representatives have been working to ensure all of the information the commissioners need is provided for the PSC hearing.

Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk has said in previous interviews that a decision on Brady II will come soon after a decision on Brady I.

"These things are kind of a package deal," Kalk said.

Kalk said while they are different projects, there's a lot of similar types of issues.

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Brady Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources, has said the second phase of the project will likely not move forward if the Stark County phase is not approved by the PSC.

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