ALLETE Clean Energy has announced the ‘first power’ milestone for its 107 MW Thunder Spirit wind farm, located in Hettinger, N.D. The developer says the first of the project's 43 turbines started generating power on Oct. 21, and four more turbines went online shortly after.
When completed in December, Thunder Spirit will consist of 43 Nordex N100 wind turbines, which were shipped from the German wind equipment manufacturer via the Saint Lawrence Seaway into the Port of Duluth, Minn., and then trucked to the construction site. The wind farm's output will be sold to Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) under a power purchase agreement.
Eric Norberg, president of ALLETE Clean Energy, cites the working relationship with MDU, in part, for the success of the project.
Meanwhile, Nicole Kivisto, MDU's president and CEO, comments, "Having the first turbines produce power is a huge milestone. We're excited that the project continues to be on schedule for full production by the end of the year.
"The partnership with ACE has been very good, and we look forward to Thunder Spirit Wind becoming part of our generation portfolio and providing affordable power to our customers for many years to come," adds Kivisto.
ALLETE says about 17 miles of new roads have been built, and 25 miles of underground cable will be used to collect power for transmission. At peak construction, the company notes, more than 200 contract employees were at work across the 10,000 acres of land included within the wind farm's perimeter.