Montana-Dakota Utilities to buy energy from ACE’s Thunder Spirit Wind plant expansion

US-based energy company MDU Resources Group unit Montana-Dakota Utilities has signed an agreement with Allete Clean Energy (ACE) subsidiary to acquire electricity generated from the Thunder Spirit Wind farm expansion in southwest North Dakota.

Under the terms of the 25-year deal, Montana-Dakota Utilities will also be able to buy out the approximately $85m expansion project after its construction is completed.

Montana-Dakota Utilities president and CEO Nicole Kivisto said: “Our relationship with ACE on the first phase of Thunder Spirit Wind proved to be a winning formula.

“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.”

Located near Hettinger, the Thunder Spirit Wind expansion project will help increase the combined renewable energy generation at the plant to about 150MW.

As part of the expansion project, 13 to 16 new wind turbines would be installed, depending on the size of the turbine selected.

The new expanded facility will be built by ACE and is expected to be operational in December 2018.

The expansion will also boost Montana-Dakota Utilities’ power production portfolio from nearly 20% to 25% renewables.

The original Thunder Spirit Wind power project featured 43 wind turbines and had a total renewable energy generation capacity of 107.5MW.

Montana-Dakota Utilities acquired the project in December 2015.