Montana-Dakota Utilities, a division of MDU Resources Group (NYSE: MDU), announced Oct. 28 that it has signed a power purchase agreement with Thunder Spirit Wind LLC, a subsidiary of Wind Works Power Corp.
The agreement is for approximately 105 MW of installed wind turbine capacity to be located in southwest North Dakota near Hettinger. The generation will interconnect at Montana-Dakota’s substation near Hettinger. The project is expected to begin commercial operation in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Montana-Dakota noted that it issued a request for proposal earlier this year for electric capacity and energy. The Thunder Spirit Wind proposal will provide Montana-Dakota customers with stable pricing over the 25-year contract.
“This is a competitively priced agreement that will serve our customers for many years to come,” said K. Frank Morehouse, president and CEO of Montana-Dakota Utilities. “Moving some of our current market energy purchases into a fixed contract helps protect our customers from unexpected changes in market pricing.”
In addition to renewable generation owned by Montana-Dakota, the agreement with Thunder Spirit Wind means 20% of Montana-Dakota’s energy supply requirements will come from renewable resources.
Montana-Dakota Utilities distributes natural gas and generates, transmits and distributes electricity and provides related services in the northern Great Plains. The company serves approximately 135,000 electric customers and 245,000 natural gas customers in 262 communities in North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.
On a 2-to-1 vote, with one commissioner offering a qualified objection, the North Dakota Public Service Commission on Oct. 9 approved the 150-MW wind project of Thunder Spirit Wind LLC. In August 2011, Thunder Spirit Wind opened the case by filing a letter of intent to submit an application for a Certificate of Site Compatibility for a wind energy conversion facility in Adams County, N.D. On March 8, Thunder Spirit filed an amended letter of intent that reflected a later proposed construction and estimated completion date. On June 4, Thunder Spirit filed an application for a Certificate of Site Compatibility.
The project site is located in Adams County, about two miles northeast of Hettinger. The project will interconnect to the Montana-Dakota Utilities Hettinger 230-kV Substation and will transmit power into the Midcontinent ISO grid.