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Developer seeks approval of 300-MW wind project in North Dakota

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Developer seeks approval of 300-MW wind project in North Dakota

Asubsidiary of Renewable EnergySystems Americas Inc. applied for North Dakota Public ServiceCommission approval of its proposed 300-MW Glacier Ridge Wind Farm, a project that hasbeen in the works since at least 2009.

GlacierRidge Wind Farm LLC said in its siting application to the PSC that it is"critical" to the economic competitiveness of the project that it beginconstruction this year so that it can qualify for 100% of the federalproduction tax credit. The credit begins to phase out after 2016.To achieve this schedule, Glacier Ridge would need to receive the certificateof approval from the PSC in October so that it can start building in November,according to the application, filed with the PSC on July 19.

Glacier Ridge, which would consist of 87 wind turbineson a 54-square-mile site in Barnes County, N.D., represents the largestproposed wind farm for which the PSC has received an application, CommissionerBrian Kalk said, as reported by the Bismarck, N.D., Tribune.

In 2009, Renewable Energy Systems Americas and enteredinto an agreement to jointly develop the project. PEAK still has an"active role" with the project as a consultant, according to theapplication.

During that initial development of the project, GlacierRidge complained toFERC that utilities Otter TailPower Co. and Minnkota Power Cooperative Inc. were trying to favor theinterconnection of a similar wind project.

Glacier Wind believes there is evidence of strong demand forwind from regional utilities, including Minnkota. The application included alist of "potential project customers" that have all indicated theymay want to purchase more wind energy. These utilities include not onlyMinnkota but also Basin ElectricPower Cooperative and Xcel Energy Inc.

About 90% of the facilities for the proposed wind farm arewithin land parcels previously under option or easement, and Glacier Ridgeexpects that it will have all necessary easement agreements by the end of July2016, the application said. Commercial operation is scheduled for December 2019.

RenewableEnergy Systems Americas is owned by RESGroup and Otter Tail Power is owned by