Allete Clean Energy (ACE), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Allete, Inc. has announced it will work with Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) to expand the Thunder Spirit wind farm in North Dakota.
Allete Clean Energy has agreed a 25-year power purchase agreement with MDU, a division of MDU Resources Group, and also has the option of purchasing the expansion when it is complete, as it did with the first phade of Thunder Spirit.
The company developed the Thunder Spirit wind farm, located near Hettinger, North Dakota, in 2014 and 2015. The first phase of construction consisted of 43 turbines, generating enough electricity to power about 30,000 homes. After completion in 2015, MDU bought the facility from Allete Clean Energy for $200 million and now operates it directly for its customers. It has now granted the company the right to develop the Thunder Spirit expansion, consisting of 13-16 turbines, which is expected to start in May 2018. The expansion of the wind farm will enable it to reach its 150-megawatt permitted capacity and MDU has ensured it will be eligible for federal renewable energy production tax credits.
“We are pleased MDU has selected us to expand the Thunder Spirit Wind project and look forward to partnering with them, area landowners and Adams County officials as well as North Dakota regulators on this exciting project that will deliver additional carbon-free energy to serve its customers” said Allan S. Rudeck Jr., President of Allete Clean Energy. “This transaction strengthens Allete Clean Energy’s renewable energy repertoire and is consistent with ACE’s multipronged growth strategy to expand its clean energy project portfolio by pursuing acquisitions and new builds with long-term power sales agreements, build-transfers and renewal investments of existing facilities.”
MDU President and CEO Nicole Kivisto added that MDU’s relationship with Allete Clean Energy on the first phase proved to be a winning formula and that the utility is in need of additional energy to meet growing demand. The easements, interconnection to the grid and permits already in place from the first phase of Thunder Spirit will make the expansion a great project for Montana-Dakota.
In addition to developing this expansion for MDU, Allete Clean Energy owns and operates wind generation facilities in Minnesota, Iowa, Oregon and Pennsylvania. The company was established in 2011 to acquire and develop capital projects to create energy solutions utilising a number of renewable and other technologies, including wind, solar, biomass and hydro.
Allete is headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota and owns utilities Minnesota Power and Superior Water and Light and Power of Wisconsin, along with Allete Clean Energy.