The Merricourt wind project has received its certificate of site compatibility from the North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC), delivering the final state approval required for the 150 MW project and allowing it to move into the construction phase, according to its developer, enXco.
enXco says it is ready to build the North Dakota project on schedule if Xcel, the utility purchaser, settles litigation in order to resume the contract. Xcel recently filed suit in an attempt to abrogate its contract to purchase the project on the basis that the project was not permitted following several procedural and weather delays. enXco countersued in order to uphold the contract but has offered to begin settlement talks in order to see the project built.
‘As we committed to Xcel in 2008, the project is fully permitted and ready to commence construction,’ says Tristan Grimbert, president and CEO of enXco. ‘We remain dedicated to our contractual obligations with Xcel and would be happy to build this project within the stipulated schedule rather than pursue legal action.’
Merricourt will consist of 100 wind turbines and encompass approximately 18 square miles. The project is expected to provide 150 construction jobs and 10 long-term, full-time positions once in operation.
The project received approval in May 2009 by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. In August 2009, the North Dakota PSC approved the certificate of public convenience and necessity.
enXco has also received acknowledgment from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service regarding the company's development of an avian and bat protection plan and commitment of $1.3 million to support habitat conservation for the whooping crane and piping plover.