Wind Power Project for North Dakota

The players are the same. The location is different. That’s a fitting description for another wind farm project that is planned to be operational in North Dakota by the end of 2010. It’ll be located near Baldwin, about 12 miles north of Bismarck, adjacent to two already operating wind farm projects.

The project will be built, owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources, Juno Beach, Fla. The electricity produced will be purchased by Basin Electric and incorporated with its other generating resources.

Late last week, officials from Basin Electric and NextEra Energy Resources signed a 30-year contract whereby Basin Electric will purchase 100 megawatts of electricity from this new wind turbines project. NextEra Energy Resources will construct, own and operate it. The project will have up to 68 wind turbines, each with a generating capacity of up to 1.6 megawatts. The project is planned to be operating by the end of the year.

This will be the sixth wind project partnership between the two organizations. The other five wind projects are located near Wilton (two phases) and Edgeley, N.D., and Highmore and in Day County, S.D.

Ron Harper, Basin Electric’s general manager and CEO, said this project provides some long-term assurance for the future. “When this project is finished, Basin Electric’s generation portfolio will include wind and other green resources with a nameplate capacity of more than 20 percent of our member’s peak demand,” he said. “In the event renewable portfolio standards become a reality, either on a state-by-state basis or a national basis, this project provides Basin Electric with enough renewable generation to meet anticipated standards for years to come.”

The renewable energy attributes or credits from those resources are used to meet member needs, state requirements or sold to third parties to help support the economics of these resources.

“Wind energy creates jobs and strengthens our energy security,” said Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of Development, NextEra Energy Resources. “We are pleased to once again be partnering with Basin Electric to bring the economic and environmental benefits of wind power to North Dakota.”

Harper said Basin Electric has developed a diverse energy portfolio for meeting the needs of its member systems. “Over the years, our generation fleet has grown to include wind, recovered energy generation, nuclear, fuel oil and natural gas beyond our foundation of coal-based facilities,” he said. “In today’s environment, supplying low-cost and reliable energy to our members is a challenge that requires development of all forms of energy resources.”

Basin Electric is a consumer-owned, regional cooperative headquartered in Bismarck, N.D. It generates and transmits electricity to 135 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 2.8 million consumers.

NextEra Energy Resources is a clean energy leader and one of the largest competitive energy suppliers in North America. A subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based FPL Group (NYSE: FPL), NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun.

It operates clean, emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin as part of the FPL Group nuclear fleet, which is the third largest in the United States. FPL Group had 2009 revenues of more than $15 billion, nearly 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and more than 15,000 employees in 28 states and Canada.