Energy

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Xcel Energy will be allowed to use the savings from the federal tax cut bill to pay for the clean-up of a manufactured natural gas plant in Fargo.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has given its approval to that plan.

Xcel said the cost of the clean-up – which will take a number of years – closely mirrors that of the savings in federal taxes the company is realizing, after corporate tax rates were cut. The utility said using those savings will prevent any need for a rate increase.

The General Manager and CEO of Basin Electric Power Cooperative is optimistic about the co-op’s future.

Paul Sukut spoke to the Basin annual meeting in Bismarck. His comments come after a year when Basin had to cut 21 percent of its work force. The co-op had some problems with a new urea fertilizer facility at the Dakota Gasification Plant.  But he told the membership that situation has turned around.

"Guys, I'm excited about our future," Sukut told the co-op's members. "We got this."

MDU and Otter Tail customers will see benefits from the lower taxes those utilities are now paying, due to federal tax cuts.

The corporate tax rate was lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent. And the investor-owned utilities are giving some or all of those savings back to customers in terms of one-time bill credits or lower utility rates.

Xcel Energy is proposing to use the money it will be saving because of the federal tax cut to clean up a site of a former manufactured gas plant in Fargo.

The plant operated from the early 1900s to 1960.

"Back in the day, coal used be manufactured into gas that was used to light streetlights and be distributed to homes and businesses, much like natural gas is today," said Xcel Senior Regulatory Consultant Dave Sederquist. "There are some residual materials left underground."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A new record for North Dakota oil production.

State mineral resources director Lynn Helms made that announcement Friday during his monthly "Director's Cut" briefing. The numbers come from July production.

"We're at 1.27 million barrels a day," Helms said. "To be exact, 1,269,366 barrels per day – a new all-time high."

Helms says the state also set a record in natural gas production – up 4.3 percent from the previous record.

MDU to replace streetlights with LEDs

Sep 11, 2018

MDU is preparing to make a switch in streetlights.

Over the next year or so, MDU is planning to replace the halogen lights with LED lights.

"They're more efficient and cost effective," said MDU spokesman Mark Hanson.

Hanson did say it is an expensive switch.

"That means the rent amount to each city will go up dramatically," Hanson said. "But the energy savings will reduce that cost dramtically."

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Members of the North Dakota Public Service Commission got a look at how MDU electric customers will benefit from the federal “Tax Cut and Jobs Act.”

Grand Forks to host new bio-fuels plant

Aug 23, 2018
T.McDonald / Prairie Public

As Reporter Todd McDonald tells us, the Red River Biorefinery is expected to open in late 2019 or very early 2020...

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Otter Tail Power Company wants the authority to give new or expanding industrial customers a break on their electric rates, to spur economic development.

Otter Tail has asked the North Dakota Public Service Commission for the right to offer up to a five year discount for a new customer using at least 500 kilowatt hours of electricity, and for expanding customers who would be using at least 1500 kilowatt hours

Commissioner Brian Kroshus said he likes the concept.

More natural gas processing plants are coming on-line in the Bakken.

State pipeline authority director Justin Kringstad said two are being completed this year, and four others are scheduled next year.

"The two plants in 2018 are scheduled to come on-line in the September-October time frame," Kringstad said. "They will add 400 million cubic feet (mcf) of gas processing."

Kringstad said the total investment in those two facilities is $300 million.

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