BISMARCK, N.D., Sept. 16, 2002 — Basin Electric Power Cooperative CEO Ron Harper announced recently the Cooperative and FPL Energy LLC have reached an agreement to build an 80-megawatt wind energy project, with 40-megawatts in each of the Dakotas.
The agreement calls for Basin Electric to purchase the output of the projects, which will be constructed, owned and operated by FPL Energy. It is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2003. Electricity produced from these two wind farms will produce enough electricity to serve about 25,000 typical North and South Dakota homes.
“We’re very pleased that Basin Electric and its Touchstone Energy® cooperatives in this region have been able to move forward with the largest wind energy project in the Dakotas. This project has come together through a team effort,” Harper said. “Without the close cooperation of the local co-ops, the statewide organizations and the system that they have built throughout the years, this would not have been possible.”
The North Dakota project announced this morning at Basin Electric Headquarters in Bismarck, is planned near Edgeley, N.D., in the service territory of Basin’s Class A member-owner Central Power Electric Cooperative, Minot, N.D., and its member Dakota Valley Electric, Milnor, N.D.
U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has been a driving force encouraging the development of wind energy in the state. He applauded the announcement stating, “Basin Electric is making a substantial investment in North Dakota’s future with this — the biggest wind project in the history of North Dakota. Our goal should be to seize the opportunities that wind and other natural resources in North Dakota present in order to create new economic opportunities and jobs in the state. This project and investment takes us a giant step toward that goal. Clean and limitless energy makes sense for North Dakota and it makes sense for America.”
The North Dakota portion of the project will include constructing 11 miles of transmission line to connect the wind farm to an existing substation. Gary Williamson, general manager of Central Power, said the line will have a capacity of 115,000 volts and will be built by Central Power.
“Basin Electric is able to partner in a project such as this because it can integrate wind into its other generating resources,” Harper said. “By using the energy from this project within the Basin Electric family of cooperatives, we are able to avoid the problems associated with transporting power to large load centers like Minneapolis or Chicago.”
The South Dakota project is expected to be located near Highmore in the service territory of another of Basin Electric’s Class A member-owner, East River Electric Power Cooperative, Madison, S.D., and its member Dakota Energy Cooperative, Huron, S.D. Basin Electric and East River have also jointly developed another 2.6-megawatt wind farm near Chamberlain. It became operational in January of this year.
Jeff Nelson, general manager of East River, said this new project adds value to the development near Chamberlain. “As a partner with Basin Electric, East River is pleased to help expand electric supply in the region by use of this major renewable wind resource,” he said. “As advocates for renewable energy sources, East River supports Basin and FPL Energy in developing this significant investment in renewable energy in South Dakota.”
Harper said wind energy has made significant technological strides in the last two decades. “Member-cooperatives have closely monitored this advancing technology and, as a result, interest in wind development has grown significantly,” he said. “With completion of the Chamberlain project, the recent announcement of a 2.6 megawatt wind project in cooperation with Central Power Electric Cooperative south of Minot and our commitment to this project, electric cooperatives of this region are again proving they are leaders in implementing new technologies to meet the demands of their consumers.”
Michael O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development for FPL Energy, said: “We’re delighted to be able to add this Dakotas project to the largest wind energy portfolio in the country and are eager to work with Basin Electric Power Cooperative in this new venture.” He noted that FPL Energy is committed to wind energy generation. “Wind offers significant environmental benefits, helps us as a nation to diversify our energy sources and uses a resource that is always there to be tapped,” he said. “Recently’s new technologies now make all of this possible on a large-scale basis.”
FPL Energy operates 26 wind facilities in nine states. The company is also an independent producer of clean energy from natural gas, solar energy and hydroelectric power, generating more than 80 percent of its power from clean and renewable sources.
It has a total of 76 facilities, with more than 10,700 megawatts of capacity in operation, under construction or announced acquisitions in 19 states. It is a subsidiary of FPL Group, Inc., nationally known as a high quality, efficient and customer-driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.fplgroup.com, www.fpl.com, and www.fplenergy.com.
Basin Electric is a consumer-owned, regional cooperative headquartered in Bismarck. It generates and transmits electricity to 124 member rural electric systems in nine states: Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. These member systems distribute electricity to about 1.7 million consumers. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.basinelectric.com.
SOURCE: Basin Electric Power Cooperative