Wind farm dedicated in northern North Dakota

Officials have dedicated a $250 million wind farm in northern North Dakota that was more than a dozen years in the making.

Xcel Energy’s Border Winds Farm north of Rolla has 75 turbines spread across 30 square miles of farmland. It employs 11 people and can produce 150 megawatts of electricity — enough to power more than 78,000 homes, according to Plant Superintendent Jayme Orrack.

“(It) is a significant step forward in our goal to deliver 35 percent renewable energy to our upper Midwest customers by 2030,” Laura McCarten, regional vice president for the Minneapolis-based utility, said during Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Landowners who allowed turbines on their property are expected to get a total of about $13 million in lease payments over the next 20 years. The farm also is expected to generate more than $600,000 in local taxes annually.

“We started out (on the project) almost this time of the year 13 years ago, and so it is a real treat to see this day happen,” said George Youngerman, executive director of the Rolla Jobs Development Authority.

Wind energy has become more prevalent in North Dakota in recent years. Last year, the state ranked 11th in the nation for the number of turbines and installed wind capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association.