Montana Dakota Utilities (MDU) announced plans to increase the supply of natural gas to the Wahpeton Community. This comes after several years of advocacy for a solution by Wahpeton city leaders, legislators, and industrial partners.
Presently, Wahpeton-Breckenridge is supplied by Great Plains Natural Gas (GPNG) through a 6-inch, high pressure natural gas pipeline that originates in Vergas, MN as an 8-inch pipe. (GPNG is a subsidiary of MDU.) From Fergus Falls, it is reduced to a 6-inch pipe that serves the Fergus Falls Green Plains ethanol plant and the Wahpeton-Breckenridge area. During high demand circumstances, industrial users are often forced to reduce or shut down operations. This lack of natural gas capacity has resulted in missed opportunities for industrial expansion in the area.
MDU will split service at the state line with Breckenridge being served by the existing pipeline. A new 12 inch pipeline will be constructed from Mapleton, ND to Wahpeton and serve residential and industrial users on North Dakota side of the river. In addition, a new rate structure will offer firm gas to industrial users at an increased cost that appears to be reasonably priced. These users, including the ProGold Plant, have agreed to a ten-year contract at the proposed rate. The contract, however, will not result in an extended obligation if, for some reason, operations would cease.
MDU anticipates the new supply pipeline could begin operations in the fall of 2024.
The Golden Growers Board of Directors would like to thank the City of Wahpeton, community leaders, and MDU for their continued efforts. In particular, we would like to thank Mayor Steve Dale and State Representative Alisa Mitskog for their tireless advocacy for a solution. We also extend our appreciation for the work of former MDU employee and Wahpeton’s natural gas consultant, David Yexley, whose assistance was key. Unfortunately, Mr. Yexley passed away in March.
This new natural gas line is a very positive step for the long-term viability of the ProGold plant and allows for future expansion at the site.