NextEra Energy Resources Dedicates Largest Wind Farm in North Dakota
Governor Hoeven joins NextEra Energy Resources, Otter Tail Power Company and Minnkota Power Cooperative, to dedicate the Ashtabula Wind Energy Center
Valley City, N.D. – Today North Dakota Governor John Hoeven and local community leaders joined officials from NextEra Energy Resources, the largest wind and solar energy producer in North America, Otter Tail Power Company and Minnkota Power Cooperative, Inc. to dedicate the Ashtabula Wind Energy Center.
More than 200 local and regional guests joined Governor Hoeven and company officials at the site near Valley City to celebrate the commercial operation of the 196.5-megawatt Ashtabula Wind Energy Center and the organizations that helped make the facility a reality.
“The Ashtabula Wind Energy Center is a good example of how we’re building a multi-resource energy industry in North Dakota, partnering both traditional and renewable producers to create both economic and environmental benefits for all,” said Hoeven. “Projects like this are helping us to grow and diversify our economy, create jobs and opportunities in rural communities, and strengthen our energy security. That benefits not only North Dakota, but also the entire nation.”
“The Ashtabula Wind Energy Center is the latest example of NextEra Energy’s ongoing commitment to expanding renewable energy projects in North Dakota and across the United States,” said Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources. “In addition to generating clean, emission-free energy, this project will have an impact on the local economy through the jobs created, taxes paid, lease payments to landowners, and goods and services sourced locally. By the end of 2009, NextEra Energy Resources and its affiliates will have invested more than $1 billion in wind energy in North Dakota.”
Located in Barnes County in southeastern North Dakota, the Ashtabula Wind Energy Center is a 196.5-megawatt project capable of generating enough electricity to power more than 50,000 homes. Initial operation of the 131 wind turbines at the wind farm began in December 2008. Otter Tail Power Company owns 32 of the Ashtabula Wind Energy Center’s 131 turbines, or 48 megawatts. NextEra Energy Resources owns the remainder of the turbines and operates the entire wind farm. All of the remaining output from the facility is sold to Minnkota under a long-term contract.
Chuck MacFarlane, president of Otter Tail Power Company said working with motivated and experienced partners made it possible to complete this project in a short time frame. “That allowed us to use available tax incentives and meet our goal of building another cost-effective renewable energy project for our customers,” said MacFarlane.
Dave Loer, president and CEO of Minnkota Power Cooperative added, “We are pleased to be purchasing energy from NextEra Energy and the Ashtabula Wind Energy Center. The energy from our 148.5 megawatts share of this wind energy center will bring Minnkota’s wind energy to nearly 25 percent of our total energy requirements. Minnkota is a significant player in helping develop North Dakota’s abundant wind resources.”
The three participating companies are not strangers to North Dakota nor to each other. This is the second major wind energy project they’ve partnered on in the state and their third project is underway.
NextEra Energy Resources and its affiliates currently own and operate seven wind energy projects in the state, with a combined generating capacity of more than 500 megawatts. In addition, the company is currently expanding two existing facilities.
In 2009, Otter Tail Power Company is commemorating 100 years of service that began with a single North Dakota customer. Since 2003 the company has added more than 130 megawatts of North Dakota wind generated electricity to its resource mix. Relative to its size, Otter Tail Power Company has one of the highest levels of investment in wind generation among utilities nationwide.
Minnkota Power Cooperative purchases 300 megawatts of wind energy generated in the state, including 288 megawatts from NextEra Energy Resources.
About NextEra Energy Resources
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 U.S. FPL Group had 2008 revenues of more than $16 billion, approximately 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and more than 15,000 employees in 27 states and Canada. For more information, visit these Web sites: www.NextEraEnergyResources.com, www.FPLGroup.com.
About Otter Tail Power Company
Otter Tail Power Company, a division of Otter Tail Corporation, is headquartered in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. It provides electricity and energy services to nearly a quarter million people in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. To learn more about Otter Tail Power Company visit www.otpco.com. To learn more about Otter Tail Corporation visit www.ottertail.com.
About Minnkota Power Cooperative
Minnkota is a generation and transmission cooperative that supplies wholesale electricity to 11 member-owner distribution cooperatives, three in eastern North Dakota and eight in northwestern Minnesota. Minnkota also is the operating agent for the Northern Municipal Power Agency (NMPA), which serves 12 municipal utilities in the same geographic region. Together the Minnkota/NMPA Joint System serves more than 130,000 people. To learn more about Minnkota visit www.minnkota.com.