North Dakota regulators grant 100-MW wind farm permit

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved a construction permit for a 100-MW wind project being developed by Allete Clean Energy.

Allete Clean Energy is a unit of Allete (NYSE: ALE) of Duluth, Minn. The estimated $200m project is in Mercer and Morton counties, north of Glen Ullin. The energy is slated to be sold into the Minnesota market, but the company does not yet have a signed power purchase agreement.

A PSC spokesperson said Allete has not determined how many towers it will erect. If the company decides to use larger-capacity turbines, fewer towers would be needed.

The company must return to the PSC with that information before construction can start.

Allete has already finished an 82-MW wind farm, Bison I, in Oliver and Morton counties. Allete is also building two wind farms in North Dakota, Bison 2 and Bison 3, each with a nameplate capacity of 105 MW. The wind farm approved Aug. 29 will be capable of supplying power to about 40,000 homes.

Another subsidiary, Minnesota Power, has a transmission line to the area where the project would be located.

North Dakota wind energy projects have the capacity to generate almost 1,500 MW. Another 7,600 MW have been proposed.