Spiritwood Station startup: Great River Energy says plant will begin operating in 2015The Spiritwood Station generating plant will begin operating in about two years, according to filings made by Great River Energy with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Thursday.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Spiritwood Station generating plant will begin operating in about two years, according to filings made by Great River Energy with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission Thursday.
“Our filing states we intend to be fully operational to provide steam to customers’ facilities that require steam by January 2015,” said Lyndon Anderson, communications supervisor for GRE.
The 99-megawatt coal-fired electric generating plant was completed in August 2011. The plant went through a testing and commissioning process and then was shut down because of lack of demand for electricity in Minnesota. The plant has sat idle since.
Construction on the Spiritwood Station generating plant began in 2006. The plant cost about $350 million to construct and was intended to produce steam for use at the Cargill Malt plant and electricity for the Minnesota markets.
Anderson said the 2015 startup is planned to coincide with the need for steam energy for multiple plants at the Spiritwood Energy Park. The planned CHS Inc. nitrogen fertilizer plant is slated for completion in 2016.
However, this plant will not utilize steam from Spiritwood Station to convert natural gas from the Oil Patch of western North Dakota to nitrogen fertilizer.
Cargill Malt will utilize steam whenever it is available from the Spiritwood Station and is currently using other energy sources.
The start date for the planned Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol plant is still unknown. The plant is awaiting approval by the Environmental Protection Agency for its renewable fuel standards permit.
Dakota Spirit AgEnergy will process 65 million gallons of ethanol per year from corn during its first phase. A second-phase expansion anticipates an additional 10 million gallons per year of ethanol produced from biomass such as corn stover or wheat straw.
“We can’t move until we get a permit,” Anderson said. “We can’t even speculate on any construction start at this time.”
An EPA comment period garnered nine comments concerning the facility.
“The comment period has just ended Oct. 11,” said Cathy Milbourn, senior press officer for the EPA, in an email reply to a request for comments. “And EPA is in the process of reviewing those comments. At this point the agency does not have a timeline to take final action.”
Anderson said he is hopeful the EPA can conclude the process in the next two months.
“They are replying to some of the comments,” Anderson said. “We are hoping to receive approval by the end of the year.”
At that point, plans could be finalized including construction start dates and planned completion dates.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com