ALLETE Clean Energy plans to build, own and operate a 100MW wind farm in Morton and Mercer Counties in North Dakota and will supply the energy generated from it to Xcel Energy.
Under development since 2011, the Clean Energy 1 project located north of Glen Ullin, North Dakota, has been permitted by the North Dakota Public Service Commission and has landowner agreements in place.
Construction is expected to begin in 2018 under a 20-year power purchase agreement between ALLETE Clean Energy and Xcel Energy. The project will be built with the latest wind turbine technology to maximize production and is expected to be complete in 2019. The PPA is subject to regulatory approval.
To qualify for federal renewable energy production tax credits, the project may utilize a share of wind turbines ALLETE Clean Energy purchased in 2016 that meet the standards for the tax credit 'Safe Harbor' provision.
The $100m investment in safe harbor turbines allows ALLETE Clean Energy to pursue its three-pronged PTC strategy that includes building and operating new wind farms based on long-term PPAs, building wind farms for other companies for a development fee or a sale price, and refurbishing its existing wind farms while extending power sales agreements.
ALLETE Clean Energy also supplies wind power to Xcel Energy through purchase agreements at ALLETE Clean Energy’s Chanarambie/Viking and Lake Benton wind farms in Minnesota.
ALLETE Clean Energy president Allan S. Rudeck Jr. said: “We are excited to partner with Xcel Energy to deliver additional low-cost wind resources to serve their customers.
“This additional PPA with Xcel Energy demonstrates ALLETE Clean Energy is an established and trusted brand in the renewable energy market that is executing its multifaceted growth strategy on a national level. We will work closely with area landowners, county officials and state regulators as we harness North Dakota’s world-class wind resources.”
ALLETE Clean Energy owns and operates wind generation facilities in Minnesota, Iowa, Oregon and Pennsylvania that were purchased from other companies. It also developed the 107.5MW Thunder Spirit wind farm in North Dakota, which was sold to Montana-Dakota Utilities in 2015.
ALLETE Clean Energy in January 2017 announced a plan to expand Thunder Spirit to about 150 megawatts through a PPA with Montana-Dakota Utilities, which also has an option to purchase the expansion.
Xcel Energy-Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota president Chris Clark said: “Wind prices are at historic lows and we’re taking advantage of these low-cost projects to transition our energy fleet and secure these prices for our customers.
“Our customers count on us to provide reliable and affordable energy and this investment will do just that.”
ALLETE chairman, president and CEO Alan R. Hodnik said ALLETE Clean Energy is a credible nationwide supplier of renewable energy that is attracting attention within the industry.
Hodnik said: “ALLETE Clean Energy is demonstrating that it can build shareholder value while answering the nation’s call to transform the energy landscape.
“ALLETE’s consolidated market share of wind power capacity has grown to 16th in the US and that growth is poised to continue as the ACE safe harbor turbine strategy has improved an already strong deal-flow pipeline and connected ALLETE Clean Energy with new industry partners nationwide.”
When Clean Energy 1 is complete, ALLETE Clean Energy will own and operate about 640MW of wind generation capacity in five states while adding a long term PPA to its sales portfolio.