In an effort to get as close to its original schedule as possible, construction officials at Great River Energy’s $276 million power plant near Spiritwood are adding another 120 workers.
Already at the 500 mark, Dennis Pozarnsky, GRE’s construction site manager, said Friday in a telephone interview that within weeks a total of 620 workers will be on site.
Gov. John Hoeven was in Washington, D.C. Wednesday urging the U.S. Department of Energy to support North Dakota renewable and traditional energy projects, including support for Great River Energy’s proposed expansion at Spiritwood Station near Jamestown.
BISMARCK — Gov. John Hoeven today announced he is working with Great River Energy to expand the Spiritwood Industrial Park near Jamestown. Hoeven is encouraging the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to provide a grant under the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s recent Recovery Act program opportunity for Deployment of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems.
I was truly disheartened to learn about approval of the gift of $300,000 by the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. for a jobs incentive grant for Great River Energy. Why do we continue to give away taxpayer money to companies that have billions of dollars’ worth of assets? I’m sure the business plan that GRE is working with is planning to hire people to run the $356 million power plant.
The City Council’s Finance and Legal Committee approved a $300,000 jobs incentive grant for Great River Energy Tuesday, but not without debate.
The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board recommended approval of the grant to be funded 80 percent by the city sales tax and 20 percent by the county’s economic development fund. Mayor Clarice Liechty argued that since the GRE power plant is in the county and will receive the property taxes, the 80 percent should come from county funds.
The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board approved a $300,000 jobs incentive grant for Great River Energy.
The grant, which will go to the City Council and County Commission for final approval, is based on 24 full-time jobs once the $356 million power plant is completed. The minimum hourly wage level is $25.50 and the average wage level is $34. Eight of those permanent positions have already been filled and the employees are on site, said Dennis Pozarnsky, construction site manager.
The sun was shining, the temperature was above zero and there wasn’t much wind Friday at the Great River Energy construction site of its power plant, Spiritwood Station.
Given the weather during the last couple of months, Construction Site Manager Dennis Pozarnsky said he will take what he can get and be grateful for it. And despite dropping behind schedule a bit, the work goes on.
“We’ve managed to keep the site open, except for the Tuesday after Christmas,” Pozarnsky said. “Only six made it in that day. I told them to shut her down and get out of there.”
In a brief special meeting Monday, City Council members approved the memorandum of understanding with Great River Energy, with a few points clarified.
The MOU gives GRE a backup source of treated water delivered from the Jamestown Wastewater Treatment Plant. GRE is building a coal-fired power plant, Spiritwood Station, near Spiritwood. The electricity will be generated by steam. GRE’s primary source for water to create the steam will come from Cargill.
About 100 area residents and other interested parties got an update on Great River Energy’s construction of a $276 million power plant at Spiritwood and an explanation of its need for a backup source of water and a second host for its steam at a community meeting Thursday.
The Jamestown City Council agreed to hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Dec. 15 to discuss a proposed memo of understanding with Great River Energy concerning the sale of treated wastewater to the energy company and the city’s acceptance of raw wastewater from the plant.
“There are three parties who are stakeholders in this,” said Ken Schultz, City Council member, during his motion to table the topic until the special meeting. “Negotiations are ongoing but not concluded. I ask for the special meeting. This gives all parties, GRE, Newman and the JSDC, two weeks to discuss this and reach an agreement.”
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