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PSC may hear new information on Courtenay Wind Farm project

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news Jamestown, 58401
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401

The North Dakota Public Service Commission will consider a motion to hear new information concerning the Courtenay Wind Farm project at its next meeting, according to Brian Kalk, member of the PSC.

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The decision to consider allowing new information was made during a work session of the commission Tuesday. PSC decisions are commonly limited to the information presented during the public hearing, which was held at the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center on July 12.

Kalk said information was received after the hearing from the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission as well as some landowners in the project area.

"The request from the Aeronautics Commission was very significant," he said. "They had some turbine locations they didn't like."

According to information on the PSC website, a private airstrip, known as Sprague Airport, is within the wind farm project. The Aeronautics Commission filing said the airport is private but listed on aviation maps and could be utilized by others in an emergency. It listed nine turbine locations it said encroach on the airport.

Betsy Engelking, vice president of development for Geronimo Energy, said the issues concerning the airport had already been dealt with.

"We followed all appropriate procedures regarding the airstrip," she said. "We had gotten a determination of no hazard on the airstrip from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration.)"

Engelking also said Geronimo Energy had been in communications with the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission in March and had received no negative comments at that time.

Landowners Robert and Julie Sprague and Grant Baumgatner also filed late letters requesting their information be included in the testimony the PSC will consider before making a decision concerning the wind farm.

Engelking said some road construction work could start this fall as part of the preparations for the wind farm. In addition, the company planned to purchase the wind turbines yet this year with the bulk of the construction slated to begin in spring 2014.

Kalk said the motion to include the new information will be considered at the commission's Aug. 21, meeting. Any other new filings made with the PSC between now and then will likely also be considered.

The PSC will also give Geronimo Energy a chance to respond to the new information, Kalk said.

"We're still waiting on some other information from Geronimo," he said. "This really doesn't change the time frame for the project at all."

The Courtenay Wind Farm is the largest wind farm project ever to be considered as a single permit in North Dakota. The project will utilize between 100 and 133 turbines to produce 200 megawatts of electricity.

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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