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Project includes installing up to 285 wind turbines in Stutsman, LaMoure counties – estimated cost around $400 million 

Credit:  By Masaki Ova | June 06, 2023 | jamestownsun.com ~~

Jamestown – NextEra Energy Resources has located at least two to three potential locations for a hydrogen facility that makes fertilizer in the area around the Spiritwood Energy Park Association’s industrial park, according to Thomas Vonbische, project director of development for NextEra. As part of that, the company is looking to install up to 285 wind turbines in Stutsman and LaMoure counties, he said.

The preliminary project boundary for NextEra Energy Resources’ North Dakota III wind farm project spans from south in LaMoure County into Stutsman County. Contributed / NextEra Energy Resources

Vonbische told the Stutsman County Commission on Tuesday, June 6, the project is in the preliminary stages. He said the hydrogen facility is going to be powered by a wind farm and needs around 800 megawatts of power to do that.

NextEra officials updated the county commission on potential projects that could happen in Stutsman and LaMoure counties. No action was taken by the county commission.

NextEra is in the process of negotiating for land to build the fertilizer plant and construct wind towers .

Daulton Pearson, project manager for NextEra, said the company is looking to install up to 285 wind turbines in Stutsman and LaMoure counties with a targeted operation date for December 2026.

“We are looking at between 200 to 800 megawatts in the area, which can power as much as 125,000 homes in that case,” he said.

Vonbische said NextEra is looking to construct wind towers in Stutsman and LaMoure counties because of the close proximity to the substations the company is most interested in using. He said the substations are about 7 to 8 miles from Spiritwood.

The estimated cost of the wind farm project is around $400 million. The estimated cost for the hydrogen facility is around $2 billion.

The North Dakota Legislature earmarked a $125 million forgivable loan for a project if it is constructed in the state. Senate Bill 2015 says the Clean Sustainable Energy Authority “shall develop a fertilizer development incentive program, including guidelines to provide loan forgiveness.” The bill says funding for the fertilizer development incentive program is limited to $125 million.

To be eligible for the fertilizer development incentive program, the fertilizer production facility must be located within the state, the owner of the facility must be from the U.S. or Canada, the owner must borrow money under a program administered by the Bank of North Dakota, and the facility must use hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water.

“Upon completion of the construction of the fertilizer production facility, the authority shall forgive the loan and shall use fertilizer development incentive funding to repay any outstanding amount borrowed, as certified by the Bank,” the bill says. “The authority shall request an appropriation from the strategic investment and improvements fund or other funding sources to provide fertilizer development incentive funding to repay any outstanding amount borrowed.”

Vonbische said the project has not been submitted to the North Dakota Public Service Commission for approval. He said an environmental study needs to be completed, which could take up to a year.

“When we are developing in these areas, we promise environmental commitment,” Pearson said. “Avian surveys for eagles and bats, any other local critters that are crawling around on the ground, habitat such as wetlands, waterways as well as cultural resource, tribal or Indian land that is sensitive to new developments.”

Pearson said the wind farm is compatible with farming and ranching.

“You can easily ranch or farm around them (wind turbines),” he said.

Any road improvements made by NextEra will be done by the company and can be used by anybody, he said.

He said lease agreements with local landowners could generate more than $5 million in landowner payments per year. He also said the county and state will benefit from the projects by receiving tax benefits with production tax benefits.

“During creation of the actual wind farm itself, we will have around 300 jobs created for that construction phase and then after that, we will have up to eight full-time, quality good-paying jobs running operation and maintenance on the wind farm itself,” Pearson said.

Pearson also said NextEra will also support the community by doing sponsorships around the county such as donating funds to local schools, youth athletic programs, first responders, food pantries.

“Anything from typically $1,000 to $5,000 we like to have some outreach out here, help the community that we are looking to develop at,” he said.

Source:  By Masaki Ova | June 06, 2023 | jamestownsun.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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