Energy

Two Dickinson-area electric utilities have entered into a “service area agreement” – as to which will serve the growth areas around Dickinson.

The two are Montana-Dakota Utilities Company – an investor-owned utility – and Roughrider Electric Cooperative.  Under the agreement – the two will divvy-up who serves what area where the city is expanding.

The Public Service Commission must approve the agreement. Commissioner Julie Fedorchak says the two should be commended for working out a deal.

Wind farm planned for Adams County

Jun 24, 2013

Developers of a proposed 150 megawatt wind farm near Hettinger, in Adams County, say they are hoping to go forward with it this year.

The Thunder Spirit Wind Farm would use up to 75 wind turbines. It would cost $300 million to build. Public Service Commission chairman Brian Kalk says Thunder Spirit had first applied for the wind farm last year.

"The original letter said they hoped to have construction completed by December 2012," said Kalk. "I would guess with the extension of the production tax credit, they will hope to have thinngs started by December 31st of this year."

MDU electric customers will see a credit on their bills in July and August.

That’s because the company earned more than it was allowed to under the settlement of an electric rate case. That settlement with the North Dakota Public Service Commission says if the utility has a rate of return above the 10.75 percent allowed, it would have to share that extra profit with customers. And it means average MDU customers will see a $16.50 cent credit spread out over the July and August bills.

Natural gas flaring still nearly 30 percent

Jun 17, 2013

Nearly 30 percent of natural gas produced in the Bakken is flared.

And state officials continue to work to reduce that flared amount.

Natural gas is a byproduct of oil development in the Bakken. State mineral resources director Lynn Helms says newer wells are being connected to gas gathering systems, so that gas isn’t being flared. However, he says some wells that have been connected to gas gathering systems for some time are now flaring more of their natural gas.

Natural gas flaring still nearly 30 percent

Jun 17, 2013

Nearly 30 percent of natural gas produced in the Bakken is flared.

And state officials continue to work to reduce that flared amount.

Natural gas is a byproduct of oil development in the Bakken. State mineral resources director Lynn Helms says newer wells are being connected to gas gathering systems, so that gas isn’t being flared. However, he says some wells that have been connected to gas gathering systems for some time are now flaring more of their natural gas.

New natural gas pipeline supported

Jun 17, 2013

The director of North Dakota’s Pipeline Authority says he’s excited about MDU’s plans for a new pipeline to bring Bakken natural gas to eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota.

The pipeline would run from near Williston to the Viking pipeline north of Moorhead.

Xcel Energy says an abundant supply of natural gas from the Bakken makes the idea of building two 215 megawatt gas-fired turbines near Hankinson attractive.

Xcel’s Dave Sederquist says the utility would start construction of the two turbines in 2016 – and could get them into service by 2018. But Sederquist says that is dependent on load growth.

"This is out in the future a little ways," said Sederquist. "We're constantly monitoring load -- and we may decided to go with just one turbine or whatever. It's a very flexible proposal."

Short oil pipeline means 400 less oil trucks

Jun 6, 2013

A proposed oil pipeline would help get Bakken crude to rail cars – and take hundreds of oil trucks off the road.

The four mile long pipeline would run from Tesoro’s High Plains Pipeline to Basin Transload’s facility near Zap. The High Plains Pipeline serves the Mandan refinery – but is running at capacity. The crude would then be shipped by rail to other refineries. Most of the Bakken crude is currently shipped by rail.

A study is underway to see if carbon dioxide can replace water in coal-fired power plants.

Allete, Incorporated – the parent company of Minnesota Power – is doing the study, along with BNI Coal. And the state of North Dakota is kicking in some money – through the Lignite Research Council.

Brad Oachs is the chief operating officer of Minnesota Power. He says the reason for the study is to keep lignite coal as a viable source for electricity generation.

Bison wind farm state's second largest

May 30, 2013

It’s now North Dakota’s second largest wind farm.

The Bison Wind Energy Center is in Morton and Oliver counties. It consists of 101 turbines, and it will produce 300 megawatts of electric power. Minnesota Power Company – a division of Allete Energy -- uses the wind power to serve its Minnesota customers, helping to meet Minnesota’s mandates for renewable power.

The company has worked with about 500 landowners to make the wind facility possible. And at a celebration in New Salem, Allete CEO Al Hodnick said the company tries to be a good neighbor.

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