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Wind farm project in northern Stutsman County delayed

A $350 million wind farm originally planned for construction this year in northern Stutsman County has been delayed.

The project is the largest in North Dakota to be issued a single construction permit by the North Dakota Public Service Commission. The project includes 100 wind turbines with a capacity of 200 megawatts and was planned for the Courtenay area.

Betsy Engelking, vice president for development for Geronimo Energy, said construction for the Courtenay Wind Farm has been rescheduled for completion in 2015. The project was originally planned to begin this spring and be completed later this year.

“We’re disappointed, but it will still go,” said Steve Somsen, a Courtenay resident. “Everybody thought it would be a benefit to the area, and it still will be.”

Engelking said delays in the engineering studies required to connect the wind farm into the national power grid caused the problem.

“We couldn’t get the interconnect agreement done in time to get financing for this year,” she said. “It wasn’t until mid-May that the (engineering) studies were done.”

Geronimo still plans to do work this year, Engelking said.

“We plan to do the road improvements in the fall,” she said. “Once load restrictions come off in the spring we can get started right away.”

Engelking said road agreements outlining what road work Geronimo had to do before the start of wind farm construction had been completed with Stutsman County and townships in the wind project area.

Lee Dick, a Courtenay resident who represented the landowners of the area during public hearings concerning the wind farm, said the road improvements would help the area.

“All in all it’s a disappointment but I don’t think hope is gone,” he said. “Courtenay Township has one particular road that this project will help.”

Wanzek Construction has been awarded the construction contract, Engelking said.

Reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or at