WISHEK, N.D. (KXNET) — The scenery around Wishek may soon change because the small town is being considered as a site for a new wind farm.
Known as the Badger Wind Farm, the project has been in talks for a few years, but town leaders say construction could begin next year.
You don’t have to drive far down a gravel road on a windy day in North Dakota to see the towers spinning.
“When you drive out in the country, you see them. I guess it’s the future,” Wishek city alderman Larry Wald said.
The future appears to be coming to the little town of Wishek.
“They’re talking about building around 75 towers,” Wishek city auditor Mary Vickers said.
The company Orsted wants to build the proposed Badger Wind Farm around the small town, discussions have been happening for nearly five years.
“There has been a couple hesitation on local farmers, but so far it’s been good feedback,” Vickers said.
“It’s too close to the city. I’m not sure what effect it’ll have on the city,” Wald said.
If the project gets the green light, Wishek city leaders say the town of just under 900 people would see a slight windfall every year of the farm’s expected 30-year life span.
“We’ve already received money at the civic center to redo the bathrooms,” Vickers said. “And I know the school is supposed to be getting some money, and the fire department and the ambulance are supposed to be getting some money to benefit from this.”
Vickers says Wishek’s school district would receive around $300,000 from the project. Logan County would receive around $232,000 in tax revenue per year. McIntosh County would collect around $140,000 annually.
The towers would mostly surround Wishek, and most of the farm would sit north of town.
It’s expected to generate around 1,081,000 megawatts a year and would connect to Montana Dakota Utilities’ power grid.
“As of right now, they’re waiting for the state to give them their final paperwork,” Wald said.
Wishek town leaders KX News spoke to say if approved, the closest wind tower has to stay at least a mile and a half outside the city.
Right now, it appears the project is waiting on approval from the state. And that could happen at the end of this month.
The North Dakota Public Service Commission will next meet on October 27. So far, it’s unclear if the Badger Wind Farm will be on the meeting’s agenda.