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Over 300 attend wind tower dedication

By Staff | Oct 15, 2010

Over 300 people attended the dedication of the Rugby Wind Power Project at the Pierce County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, October 12.

The 71-tower wind turbine project has been many years in the making. Construction began in October of 2008 and was completed in December of 2009. It is located a few miles northeast of Rugby. The project encompasses about 9,554 acres of land leased from 49 local landowners. The land continues to be used to grow corn, wheat, canola and sunflowers.

Tuesday’s dedication event featured Senator Byron Dorgan along with speakers from the various entities involved in the process as well as local speakers. Project landowners were recognized at the event, as well. Sixth grade students from both Rugby and Wolford schools had front row seats for the dedication.

“The new wind farm in Rugby is important to our local economy and our nation’s energy independence,” Senator Dorgan said. “I’ve been pushing for policies that encourage wind energy development, and the Rugby Wind Power farm is an example of the progress our country is making. North Dakota truly is the Saudi Arabia of wind energy potential, and the growth we’re seeing in wind energy in North Dakota means more jobs creation, economic development and a cleaner environment.”

The Rugby Wind Tower Project provides a continuing source of jobs and income for the Pierce County community. Seventeen full-time jobs are based at the site, and the project contributes approximately $2 million annually in the form of landowner lease payments and property taxes, according to a press release from Iberdrola Renewables who hosted the dedication ceremony.

“The development and construction phase of the wind power project has had a very positive economic impact to Pierce County and the city of Rugby,” said Brenda Foster, executive director, Rugby Job Development Authority. “Our city and county community leaders are always looking for additional ways to sustain and grow our community, and adding wind power to our agricultural, manufacturing and service industry mix provides for a more diverse and sustainable economy for our county and community.”

Iberdrola Renewables, Portland,Oregon, is part of the world’s leading provider of wind power. They teamed up with Missouri River Energy Services, Wanzek Construction, Fargo, and Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation, to get the job done.

“Wind farms get built because of good relationships with customers, turbine suppliers, permitting agencies and landowners,” said Kevin Devlin, vice president, Iberdrola Renewables. “We are honored to be a part of the Pierce County community and we look forward to providing eonomic support and renewable, homegrown energy in Rugby for many years to come.”

At the peak of Rugby’s construction, the project employed more than 250 construction workers.

“We had many of our local North Dakota construction workers on this project last spring and summer, ” said Jason Kaufman, Wanzek Construction, Inc., Fargo. “It’s rewarding to see the Rugby Wind Power Project operating and providing renewable energy for our state.”

Numerous local businesses all located within 100 miles of the Rugby Wind Power Project provided vital services and supplies during construction.

Along with the dedication ceremony there were tours of the wind farm, complementary lunch, and a special guest, a red-tailed hawk from the Roosevelt Zoo in Minot.

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