Otter Tail Power Company finishes work on 150 MW Merricourt Wind Energy Center

Published on December 29, 2020 by Chris Galford

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The Otter Tail Power Company completed work on its largest capital investment to date last week, with the completion of the 150 MW Merricourt Wind Energy Center in North Dakota, transforming years of planning into a flood of new wind resources.

Marrincourt consists of 75 Vestas wind turbines, which provide enough energy to power 65,000 homes annually. EDF Renewables developed the project, while Wanzek Construction built it. In all, construction took 17 months. Otter Tail expects the facility to be a major piece of a plan for 35 percent of its power generation to come from renewable resources by 2023. Nearly 90 percent of that renewable energy will be wind-powered.

“Completing the Merricourt Wind Energy Center marks a major milestone,” Tim Rogelstad, Otter Tail Power president, said. “At approximately $260 million, Merricourt is the largest capital investment in Otter Tail Power Company’s history, bringing us one step closer to our goal of serving customers with more than 35 percent renewable energy by 2023.”

By coming online now, Merricourt puts the company in a good position going into 2021, when it will retire its 140 MW, coal-fired Hoot Lake Plant. That plant has been in operation since the 1950s, but through Merricourt, it will now be replaced by the lowest-cost resource in Otter Tail’s portfolio.

“This facility is a prime example of how we can forge innovative solutions to meet North Dakota’s energy needs in a sustainable and cost-effective way using an all-of-the-above energy approach,” North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said. “Congratulations to the company and the community in celebrating this remarkable achievement.”

The facility will have a partner project in South Dakota at the 245 MW natural gas combustion turbine-based Astoria Station. It is expected to be brought online early next year.