Wind Turbines Planned Near Hebron - - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Wind Turbines Planned Near Hebron

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The wind is a hot topic of conversation, but alternative energy is a major issue for the state's future.

Mike Chaussee travels to Hebron where discussions continue on a wind project that will add to the state's alternative energy production.

All this untapped energy potential, and by 2017, predictions show North Dakota will be harnessing less energy than it needs.

Not because the resources aren't here...

"As we are finding out today, the wind always blows in North Dakota, so why wouldn't you use the wind." says Brian Kalk/Public Service Commissioner.

But because they don't stay here.

"In western North Dakota we need at least another 25-hundred to 3-thousand megawatts of energy over the next 20 to 30 years." says Kalk.

A proposed wind farm south of Hebron would change that.

"This project will help serve the needs of North Dakota for growing power demands out west so that's an interesting aspect of this project." says Julie Fedorchak/Public Service Commissioner.

As many as 59 turbines would provide energy to Basin Electric to help power western North Dakota.

The location is ideal.

It's windy, and the power lines already exist to get the energy where it needs to go.

"This line today is right next to a major transmission line, in the heart of good windy territory. It just seemed to be a good setup for a project." says Kalk.

Research shows the environmental impact will be minimal.

"It really does change a neighborhood, there's good points about it, bad points about it, but it's a reality that your neighborhood changes when a wind farm like this comes up." says Randy Christmann/Public Service Commission.

But it's still part of the the discussion.

"If our technicians identify a whooping crane that is utilizing a wetland area within a mile of any of the operating turbines they are shut down."

The 180 million dollar project is expected to produce energy for more than 30 years.

The public service commission expects to vote on the project by the end of next month.

All of the public comment at the hearing today supported the project.

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