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Proposed ND Wind Farm One of World's Largest

BISMARCK, N.D. A proposed 2,000-megawatt wind farm in northwestern North Dakota would be one of the world's largest energy projects, although new electric transmission lines are needed for it to be built, state regulators say.

"The numbers that you see being thrown around as potential development in North Dakota are truly eye-popping," Public Service Commissioner Tony Clark said Wednesday.

Hartland Wind Farm LLC is planning the $4 billion project in Ward, Burke and Mountrail counties in northwestern North Dakota. The company wants to start construction in the fall of 2010.

It will be built in stages and ultimately should have 1,333 wind towers spread over 720 square miles, said Craig Fink, one of the project's developers. The Public Service Commission accepted a letter of intent for the project Wednesday.

Its territory is bordered by Canada to the north, the Des Lacs River to the east, U.S. Highway 2 to the south and the western border of Burke and Mountrail counties, Public Service Commission filings say.

The commission's president, Susan Wefald, said both the Hartland project and a separate, 1,000-megawatt wind farm planned for Oliver and Morton counties will require building new electric transmission lines to carry the power.

"Planning and construction of a major transmission line can take a number of years," Wefald said.

FPL Energy LLC, of Juno Beach, Fla., is developing the 1,000-megawatt farm, which will cost about $2 billion to build.

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