Montana-Dakota Utilities Signs Agreement to Purchase North Dakota Wind Farm

Wind Farm North Dakota
Wind Farm North Dakota. Image courtesy of NREL

Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a division of MDU Resources Group (NYSE:MDU) announced today that it has signed an agreement to purchase a North Dakota wind farm to be developed by ALLETE Clean Energy, a subsidiary of ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE).

The wind project, located near Hettinger, N.D., and comprised of 43 turbines producing 107.5 megawatts of electricity, is anticipated to be completed in December 2015. The project’s cost is approximately $200 million and the purchase is subject to regulatory approvals.

“We are committed to investing capital resources to meet the needs of our customers and our growing legacy business,” said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources Group. “This project is a positive step in executing that plan and will be a great addition to Montana-Dakota’s generation portfolio. We believe this will be a great partnership with ALLETE.”

Montana-Dakota originally signed a power purchase agreement with Thunder Spirit Wind in October 2013 to purchase the output of the wind farm. Montana-Dakota determined that owning and operating the wind farm is the best long-term solution to meet customer need for energy. Montana-Dakota partnered with ALLETE Clean Energy (ACE) on an agreement for ACE to acquire the Thunder Spirit Wind project, complete the development and sell the completed project to Montana-Dakota. ALLETE has developed other wind projects in North Dakota.

“Our electric demand continues to increase and this project is a great opportunity to increase our electric generation to meet that customer demand. Our customer energy requirements are expected to grow at five percent per year for the next five years,” said Frank Morehouse, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota. “Not only does this project provide needed generation, but it also further diversifies our generation portfolio, boosting our renewable segment to 20 percent.”

The wind farm location is beneficial in that it allows Montana-Dakota to connect the project to its transmission system in an area the company already provides electric service, further enhancing the company’s deliverability of power to its customers.

“We’re proud that MDU chose ACE to develop a project that will benefit its customers and diversify the mix of energy sources. Wind energy is an advantageous resource in North Dakota, and ALLETE Clean Energy is anxious to apply our experience to bring the project to fruition,” said ALLETE Clean Energy President Eric Norberg.

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This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.