Enel Green Power North America has started construction of the 299 MW Aurora wind farm in North Dakota. Expected to be fully operational by the end of 2020, the construction of the facility will involve an investment of around $450 million.
Aurora, located in Williams and Mountrail counties, is Enel Green Power’s second project in the state. The project is located near the 150 MW Lindahl wind farm in Williams County, which began operations in 2017. Once fully operational, the 299 MW Aurora wind project will be able to generate approximately 1.3 TWh.
During construction and operation of the project, EGPNA will initiate activities aimed at further improving its environmental impact, while identifying opportunities that create long-term value for both the community and the project. These initiatives include support for emergency response equipment and coordinated drill training with local volunteer fire districts; investment in the Nesson Public School District #2’s science, technology, engineering, and math programs; and scholarships for host school district students to attend the wind technician training program at Lake Region State College.
Aurora is supported by a new power purchase agreement (PPA) for the sale of power generated by a portion of the plant to local utility Basin Electric Power Cooperative, which comes after the virtual PPA with Gap Inc. signed earlier this year.
The 23-year bundled PPA with Basin Electric Power Cooperative involves the purchase of energy delivered to the grid by a 142 MW portion of the Aurora wind farm. In addition to Aurora, Basin Electric also purchases the full 150 MW output of the Lindahl wind farm.
EGPNA will also sell the energy produced by a 90 MW portion of Aurora to Gap Inc. through a 12-year virtual PPA. The electricity output purchased by Gap Inc. will be enough to power over 1,500 of its retail stores, equivalent to around 50% of the electricity needs of the more than 3,300 stores operated by Gap Inc. worldwide. This electricity output is expected to total nearly 400 GWh each year, equivalent to avoiding the emission of about 262,000 tons of CO2 per year.
“We look forward to this project getting underway in the Williston Basin,” says Basin Electric’s CEO and general manager, Paul Sukut. “This additional resource will help us serve our member’s increasing load in that area.”
“Given our expertise in renewables and the favorable long-term economic outlook for the sector, this project is another example of corporate and utility partnerships leveraging renewable energy for both its sustainable features and economic profitability,” adds Antonio Cammisecra, CEO of Enel Green Power.
With Aurora, Enel Green Power is currently building over 1.5 GW of wind and solar capacity. Other Enel Green Power projects are the 236.5 MW White Cloud wind project in Missouri, the 66 MW Whitney Hill wind project in Illinois, and the 450 MW High Lonesome wind project and 497 MWdc Roadrunner solar project, both in Texas.