Energy Mix Gets “Breezier”
Energy from the new Oliver III wind farm began flowing into the Minnkota Power Cooperative-Northern Municipal Power Agency (NMPA) system in January. Minnkota is the power supplier for Cass County Electric Cooperative and its 47,000 active accounts.
Following several months of construction during fall 2016, approximately 44 GE turbines south of Center, N.D., are became fully operational in January 2017. The 100-megawatt addition to the Oliver Wind Energy Center was developed by NextEra Energy Resources. All production is sold to Minnkota under a 35-year Purchase Power Agreement (PPA). The project was able to fully utilize the federal Production Tax Credit, which is scheduled to phase out over the next few years.
Minnkota and NextEra have a longstanding and mutually beneficial business partnership that has helped to greatly expand wind generation in North Dakota. In addition to the Oliver III project, Minnkota has PPAs in place with affiliates of NextEra for 357 MW of wind power capacity from the Langdon and Ashtabula Wind Energy Centers on the eastern side of the state.
Wind conditions and available transmission lines made the Oliver III wind farm an ideal project for Minnkota. The wind farm is strategically located near the Minnkota-operated Milton R. Young Station, a coal-based power plant that serves as the cooperative’s primary source of generation. This will allow Minnkota to use its recently constructed Center to Grand Forks 345,000-volt transmission line to efficiently deliver both coal and wind energy to its members in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.