Bismarck – Chicago based PNE Wind wanted to build over 70 wind turbines here in parts of Morton and Telfer Townships, but after numerous hearings and stiff opposition from residents, the Wind Giant has bowed out of the battle.
“Early On You Could tell this was not a good place for this project and it did pull together well, a large chunk of people and good neighbors together”. Said Morton Township Resident Andy Buntrock.
The wind farm was pitched to residents as an economic boom to the area, but over 500 of them turned out to a public hearing last December to speak out against the project.
The testimony was so powerful, the Burleigh County Commission denied PNE’s request for a special use permit for the project.
“We’ve done something in the state of North Dakota that’s never been done before, as far as the consolidation of people the project itself with all the strikes against it also hurt it as well.” Said Buntrock
PNE later filed a suit claiming some of the testimony was incorrect or misleading and could have swayed the commission’s vote.
But in a surprising move, the suit was dropped without reason in late April with the project then being sold to a subsidiary of Florida based NextEra Energy.
Residents KX News spoke with say they believe the recent moves are a final death blow to the project but they’d like to hear it from NextEra first …
“I think the other issue is what does NextEra plan, and they’ve not been open and shared that with the people of Morton Township”. Said Morton Township Resident Karen Macdonald.
But other residents, like David Day, tell KX News, not getting the project would be a huge economic blow.
“It adds a lot of economic benefit to the community and not just the land owners, but to the community itself, you know it’s hard to put a price on it, it’s probably 40 50 million dollars over the life of the project that would have gone directly to the community” Said Morton Township Resident David Day.
KX News reached out to both PNE and NextEra for comment…neither has responded yet.
NextEra does have ties to this area.
In February a siting permit for a proposed wind farm in Emmons and Logan County was approved by the North Dakota Public Service Commission.
It faced little opposition.