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United States

United States

150MW project cancelled over bird concerns

UNITED STATES: Minneapolis-based utility Xcel has cancelled a 150MW project in North Dakota following concerns over the effect on local wildlife.

The Merricourt project would have used GE1.5MW turbines
The Merricourt project would have used GE1.5MW turbines

Xcel was set to complete the Merricourt wind project, which is located in the McIntosh and Dickey in the south of the state, at end of the year. It was approved by the North Dakota Public Services Commission approved the project in 2009.

The Merricourt project would have consisted of 100 GE 1.5MW turbines.

However, according to reports, the US Fish and Wildlife service (FWS) had informed Xcel that a number of bird species were at risk from the project.

In a regulatory statement on the decision, Xcel said: "The adverse impact of this project could have on endangered or threatened species protected by federal law, and the uncertainty in the cost and timing in mitigating this impact."

In February, the US Interior Department (DOI) and the (FWS) issued voluntary guidelines for onshore wind energy developers to avoid harm to birds and other wildlife.

The guidance covered site selection, construction, and operation and maintenance to help minimise impacts on federally protected birds, bats and other wildlife.

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