Paul Murray, Minot
North Dakota's Public Service Commission recently approved a new wind farm that will cost $350 million. It will be a 200 megawatt wind farm in the southwestern part of the state that will have 125 turbines. The farm project covers 21,000 acres, or about 33 square miles, in Stutsman County.
Wind power is not that good of a source of energy, and in 1998, Norway commissioned a study of wind power in Denmark and concluded that it has "serious environmental effects, insufficient production, and high production costs." Why would we want to have something that has so many problems? The turbines may create up to 200 construction jobs, but it only creates about 10 permanent jobs. How does the wind farm help the state if we have to lease land from 60 landowners and pay $350 million to pay for it?
Wind power has many negative impacts and aspects for what they cost. In high winds, turbines must be stopped because they damage easily. Turbines have been found to kill a large amount of birds and bats. Wildlife on the ground is displaced as well. Prairie birds are especially affected by disturbance of their habitat, and construction on mountain ridges diminishes important forest interior far beyond the extent of the clearing itself.
These turbines are also a towering 200 to 400 feet tall. The whole tower assembly totals over 163 tons. Erosion, disruption of water flow, and destruction of wild habitat and plant life occur with the building of access roads, power lines, transformers, and the tower sites themselves.
Wind turbines are not right for North Dakota. Why do we keep building them in this agriculture rich state? We have an abundance of oil and coal in North Dakota, so why are we wasting our time with wind farms?