Decommission Plan For North Dakota’s Largest Wind Farm Changes
Regulators in North Dakota have signed off on a new plan to tear down a wind farm.
That startling statement was reported by the Associated Press on December 30th. Why on earth would they already be dismantling a relatively new portion of the huge Tatanka wind farm? The "farm" straddles the North Dakota/South Dakota border and pumps out enough renewable energy to power 60,000 homes.
The $381 million project just went online in 2008.
It's the largest farm in either state and stretches across Dickey and McIntosh Counties in North Dakota and McPherson County in South Dakota. So why did North Dakota's Public Service Commission vote last week to approve a new plan to remove 61 turbines on the North Dakota section of the farm?
Tatanka wants to make cuts in the turbine towers and pull them down using cables.
Sounds more like felling trees than the original decommissioning plan. Originally the plan called for a massive crawler crane to return to the area and remove these superstructures. Tatanka maintained that the cable method would cost about $5.5 million less.
Talk of decommissioning 61 wind turbines made major headlines across the state.
Why did state regulators OK this new plan? Is Tatanka farm's parent company Acciona in dire straits financially? Why are just the North Dakota turbines being decommissioned? Last week MyDakotan.com reported this...
No mention was made in this PSC meeting about why such a large wind farm was being decommissioned.
Come to find out the devil is always in the details. Credit to the fine My Dakotan writers for sticking on this story. Monday, January 3rd My Dakotan provided the clarification that this story really needed and they got it from PSC Staff member Stacy Eberl:
“There is a requirement in North Dakota for all wind farms to have a decommissioning plan in place."
So in fact it was a proposal to change the decommissioning plan that had already been in place. The change needed approval from the PSC which was granted. So only future plans have changed and currently, the Tatanka wind farm will continue to supply renewable current to thousands of customers.