ALLETE Clean Energy has announced plans to work with Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU) to expand the Thunder Spirit Wind project in North Dakota from 107.5 MW to 150 MW.
ALLETE Clean Energy secured a 25-year power purchase agreement with MDU to purchase energy from the expansion near Hettinger, located about 100 miles southwest of Bismarck. Under the agreement, MDU also has the option to purchase the expansion when it is complete (as it did with the first phase of Thunder Spirit).
In 2014, ALLETE Clean Energy acquired the rights to build the project’s 107.5 MW first phase, which comprises 43 turbines. After the project was completed in 2015, MDU bought Thunder Spirit from ALLETE Clean Energy for $200 million.
MDU has granted ALLETE Clean Energy the right to develop the 13- to 16-turbine Thunder Spirit expansion. Major construction on the $85 million project is expected to start in May 2018.
ALLETE notes it has qualified the Thunder Spirit expansion site for federal renewable energy production tax credits.
Nicole Kivisto, president and CEO of MDU, says, “We are in need of additional energy to meet our growing demands, and with the easements, interconnection to the grid and permits already in place from the first phase of Thunder Spirit Wind, it makes this a great project for Montana-Dakota.”