FARGO, N.D. – Plans are currently moving ahead for the formation of a locally owned wind power development project that will have a wind tower farm in Griggs and Steele counties of east central North Dakota.
A meeting was held during the recent Northern Ag Expo in Fargo to inform farmers and ranchers of the investment opportunities the project offers.
“Why let a large corporate developer come in and develop our wind resource – when all of the profits are exported to another state?” asked Lloyd Anderson, a consultant to the board of governors of M-Power LLC, the local corporation working to establish the wind power project.
“When a corporate wind developer comes in and develops a resource, it makes payments to the landowners on the site where those turbines reside, but all the rest of the profits from the wind farm go back to where ever their headquarters are,” he continued.
“The goal of this group is to develop the wind resource with local and landowner ownership so that more wealth can be retained within Griggs and Steele counties and for other investors in North Dakota.”
The plan for this project was first discussed as early as 1998, after four individuals from the two-county area attended a wind power conference in Iowa. That meeting resulted in the formation a year later of the Griggs-Steele Wind Development Group, which was made up of an economic development entity from each of the counties.
The next few years, according to Anderson, have been spent on some basic research, such as determining wind generation potential and meeting with landowners in the area that was thought to have the greatest wind potential.
The initial focus during this time was to solicit interest from wind developers to come in and build a system that would return lease payments to the landowners where the towers were located. However, at that time there was very little utility interest in wind-produced electrical power.
During this time over $300,000 and thousands of man hours were expended in promoting and researching wind energy development in North Dakota.