Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU), a subsidiary of MDU Resource Group, Inc., has received approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission of Bowman county for a conditional use permit for the use land near Rhame for a wind farm on January 06, 2009. The wind farm consists of 13 wind turbines. It will generate 19.5 megawatts, enough energy to power between 4,600 and 5,800 homes for per year. Principal construction on the wind farm is expected to start in summer 2009.

Darcy Neigum of MDU said that they looked to complete the wind farm by the end of the year.

Brian Ulberg of MDU said the speed of construction depends on certain factors, including weather.

“They usually work on several (turbines) at the same time,” Ulberg said. “They can have one up in a day, if the weather is right.”

The project will be similar to one completed near Baker, Mont., recently, Neigum said. In fact, during the construction of the Rhame wind farm, seven additional turbines are planned to be added near Baker.

Neigum and Ulberg said there are presently no plans to expand the Rhame farm beyond 13 turbines in the near future, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

The Planning and Zoning Commission approved the conditional use permit with the provision that any expansion of the wind farm should be brought for review to the commission.

When asked about what happens when the turbines break down or wear out, Ulberg said removing the turbines is the responsibility of MDU.

“It’s ours, we take care of it. We remove it,” Ulberg said. “That’s spelled out in the land lease we have.”