ALLETE Clean Energy Makes North Dakota Moves

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ALLETE Clean Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Minnesota-based energy company ALLETE Inc., has closed the sale of phase two of its Thunder Spirit wind facility to Montana-Dakota Utilities (MDU).

ALLETE sold the 48 MW phase of the North Dakota project for approximately $84 million. MDU, a division of MDU Resources Group – which owns and operates Thunder Spirit’s first phase, also built by ALLETE Clean Energy – exercised a purchase option on phase two, as laid out in the project’s development agreement in March.

The wind facility is located near Hettinger, N.D., about 100 miles southwest of Bismarck. The project includes 16 3 MW Nordex turbines that will produce enough energy for about 15,000 homes. Forty-five people were employed during construction, and 10 will be working at Thunder Spirit I and II during operation.

In 2014, ALLETE Clean Energy acquired the rights to build the 107.5 MW first phase of Thunder Spirit, which includes 43 turbines and generates enough electricity to power about 30,000 homes. After the project was completed in 2015, ALLETE Clean Energy sold the wind facility to MDU for $200 million, and MDU operates the wind farm for its customers. Totaling 155 MW of capacity, the Thunder Spirit project qualified for federal production tax credits, notes ALLETE.

This fall, ALLETE Clean Energy also broke ground on a 106 MW wind project located northeast of Glen Ullin, N.D. The company will build, own and operate the facility, which will supply electricity to Xcel Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

“We are proud to have delivered a competitive energy resource to MDU that will help meet the growing energy needs of their customers,” says Al Rudeck, president of ALLETE Clean Energy. “The Thunder Spirit expansion is part of our growing expertise in the energy industry, as we now will focus our attention on completion of a second new wind project in North Dakota, the Glen Ullin Energy Center, in as many years, while advancing our company’s growth strategy as a clean energy developer, operator and strategic owner.”

Under development since 2011, the Glen Ullin project has been permitted by the North Dakota Public Service Commission and will consist of 43 2.3 MW and 2.5 MW GE wind turbines.

In addition, at three of its operating Midwest wind sites, ALLETE Clean Energy is in the midst of refurbishing up to 385 wind turbines to improve efficiency and preserve the projects.

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