Gale forces

North Dakota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2008  | September 2008 issue

By the looks of things, the centrifugal force of windmills is a good motif for the entire wind industry in North Dakota. The farther out it goes, the more speed it picks up.

Earlier in the year, the state witnessed announcements of new projects that would expand its wind-generating power severalfold, to roughly 800 megawatts, once all of the proposed blades were up and spinning (see the May 2008 fedgazette). That was apparently just a warm-up.

In late June, FPL Energy-already the state's largest wind developer-proposed a project that would more than double the state's wind-power generation in one fell swoop with a $2 billion project that would crank out 1,000 megawatts. The wind farm would have 667 turbines and be built over 250 square miles in Oliver and Merton counties, in the west-central part of the state. The company expects to submit a formal application for the project next year and hopes to have construction permits in 2010.

And that's not the end of it. FPL Energy also unveiled an additional $300 million, 150-megawatt project in Dickey County, in southeastern North Dakota, which may be up and running by the end of next year.

Ronald A. Wirtz