Minnkota Power Co-operative began producing energy from North Dakota's first utility scale wind turbine on January 25 and achieved an impressive 41% plant capacity factor in the first four weeks of operation, says the company's Dave Loer. He adds, however, he expects an average 30% capacity factor from the 900 kW NEG Micon turbine over the year. The co-operative asked customers three years ago whether they would pay a premium for wind energy and 27% said they were interested. Although another request two years ago to get customers to commit to the premium resulted in only a 1% return, the utility built the turbine anyway and began selling 100 kWh blocks for a $0.03/kWh premium. So far, says Loer, Minnkota has sold 2100 of the 100 kWh blocks. He says the power cost at the busbar is $0.065/kWh, but the premium is determined by subtracting the value of energy, North Dakota incentives and tax breaks.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol