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."
Sederquist says Xcel is also looking at outside proposals to help meet the projected needs. But he says the Hankinson location has its advantages.
"That's because of its location, being close to the load center in Fargo and Grand Forks," said Sederquist. "Conceivably, it offers more reliability to the area, if there were transmission lines that were taken down for whatever reason -- a storm or icing. That would be yet another resource option."
If Xcel builds the Hankinson project – it would be the utility’s first North Dakota-based generation. Xcel is also looking at purchasing wind power from North Dakota.