More wind turbines may be spinning in the breeze east of Jamestown within three years, according to Justin Pickar, director of project origination for Geronimo Energy. Geronimo Stutsman Wind Farm, planned for Spiritwood and Rose townships, could begin construction in 2018 and plans call for the production of electricity by the end of 2019. The estimated cost of the project ranges from $150 million to $220 million, depending on the models of the wind turbines selected.
“While doing the planning for the Courtenay (Wind Farm) project, we were monitoring this Spiritwood project,” Pickar said. ” … the wind energy is very similar to Courtenay.”
PNE Wind previously owned the project. When it offered the project for sale, Geronimo Energy thought it would be a good fit for the company because of its local knowledge of the area and the wind resource.
Geronimo Energy was the original developer of the Courtenay Wind Farm, which it sold to Xcel Energy in May 2015. The project is located about 10 miles north of the planned project at Spiritwood. The Courtenay Wind Farm is currently under construction with road and tower foundation work complete. Erecting the turbines is the next step.
Pickar said the Spiritwood wind farm project has a basic footprint within two townships located east and northeast of Jamestown. When complete, the wind farm will have a production capacity of between 100 and 150 megawatts generated by between 40 and 60 turbines.
“It all depends on the technology we use,” Pickar said. “The newer turbines use longer blades and are more efficient at producing electricity.”
The Geronimo Stutsman Wind Farm includes land owned by the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. and the Spiritwood Energy Park Association.
“This is exciting,” said Connie Ova, CEO of the JSDC. “This could be great for companies that are in SEPA or thinking of being there. This could give them some carbon credits which could be advantageous for their operations.”
Carbon credits, earned by companies that use renewable energy, are required for products sold in some markets.
Landowners leasing property to Geronimo Energy for the turbines will also benefit. Pickar met Monday with landowners to discuss the change in ownership of the project. The company also pays property taxes on the wind turbines and will provide a community fund of between $20,000 and $30,000 per year for public benefit projects.
Pickar said the Geronimo Stutsman project remains in the planning stages.
“There is still risk, and every project has obstacles,” he said. “We’re going to put a lot of time and money into this very soon.”
Project planning is already underway and will continue. Geronimo Stutsman Wind Farm will likely apply for regulatory approval from the North Dakota Public Service Commission in 2017.
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