Energy

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Xcel Energy has outlined what it will do with the money it saved from federal tax cuts.

The North Dakota Public Service Commission held an informal hearing on the settlement reached by the utility and the PSC advocacy staff.

Xcel is proposing to return the $9.7 million it saved in 2018 from the tax cuts, that affected the 2017 tax year, to customers, in a refund.

"The impact to the typical residential customer is going to be about $46," said Xcel Senior Regulatory Consultant Dave Sederquist. "That's well over half of a typical electric bill."

Produced water spill reported near Fairfield

Nov 28, 2018

A truck carrying “produced water” from oil and gas development overturned four miles west of Fairfield, spilling the 185 barrels of water on rangeland and into Ash Coulee Creek.

That creek is the site of what’s been called one of the largest reported oil spills in state history.

In December, 2016, an oil pipeline leak spilled 12,615 barrels of oil, or about 530,000 gallons, into Ash Coulee Creek and onto a hillside. The site of that spill is 16 miles northwest of Belfield.

The produced water spill was reported Saturday.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has approved the expansion of a natural gas processing plant near Watford City.

But there are some conditions.

The Roosevelt gas plant will undergo a $150 million expansion. It will go from processing 50 million cubic feet of natural gas per day – to 150 million cubic feet. The extra 100 mcf will be processed into natural gas liquids.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved some amendments to its Guidance Policy on gas capture.

The changes will give industry some flexibility, based on the availability of gas processing plants and pipeline technology. But for now, the Commission has not changed the gas capture goals' timing – pending further work.

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."

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