Allete Clean Energy invites community to ceremonial blade signing

In front of North Dakota dignitaries and the Adams County community, County Commission Chairman Chuck Christman said that Adams County has always been an aggressive, progressive community. The decision to accept the Thunder Spirit Wind Project is a display of that testimony.

Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley (L) and U.S. Congressman Kevin Cramer get ready to sign the blade during a ceremony recognizing the Thunder Spirit Wind Project. (PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Record)
Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley (L) and U.S. Congressman Kevin Cramer get ready to sign the blade during a ceremony recognizing the Thunder Spirit Wind Project. (PHOTO BY COLE BENZ | The Record)

In front of North Dakota dignitaries and the Adams County community, County Commission Chairman Chuck Christman said that Adams County has always been an aggressive, progressive community. The decision to accept the Thunder Spirit Wind Project is a display of that testimony.

The wind farm project has been under construction since early May and is expected to be completed by December, a turnaround time that Christman said he was initially skeptical about. But after seeing the progress they have made since breaking ground, he thinks they will make their date.

When everything is said and done, the wind farm will include 43 turbines that will generate 2.5 mega watts (MW) of power per tower. A grand total of 107.5 MW will be generated when all of the turbines are up and running, enough to power 30,000 homes.

On August 25 Allete Clean Energy invited the community to a ceremonial blade signing at the site of construction. Speaking at the engagement was U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, representatives for U.S. Senators Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven along with Presidents of Allete and Allete Clean Energy and Christman.

The Hettinger choir opened up the event with a rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, then Erin Norberg, President of Allete Clean Energy, made a donation to the organization.

After a brief introduction, Norberg passed the microphone over to Lt. Gov. Wrigley.

Wrigley praised the event and the movement towards “energy independence,” and told the crowd that “this is our inheritance.”

Wrigley later told the Adams County Record that this was great for the economic development of the community, and that it gives the area an opportunity to serve as an example of how we can develop our energy capability in this country.

“I really think it’s a great day, it’s a testament on that kind of journey to energy independence for the United States,” Wrigley said.

The blade ceremony, which Norberg said is their industry’s version of a ‘ribbon cutting,’ occurred after the speakers said a few words. Attendees were given markers brandishing ‘Allete Clean Engergy’ to sign the massive piece of equipment. The crowd was led outside where a wind tower blade sat for attendees to sign. Everyone, not just the notable speakers, were given the chance to sign their names.

Many wrote their names and the names of their family members, adding the year 2015 for good measure. Though the blade signing is ceremonial, the blade itself isn’t just for show. The large piece signed by hundreds will be put up on a tower to spin with the wind as a functional piece to a tower. Norberg said the towers should serve the area for the next 30-40 years, so in the next few decades the names of community members will wave with the wind.

In a conversation with the Record, Norberg said the community has been very supportive and his company has noticed.

“The support was noticed and much appreciated,” Norberg said. “A big thank you to the community for all the support,”

Christman echoed similar sentiments, saying that working with Allete Clean Energy has been better than he expected. Though at first he was skeptical, Christman said it didn’t take him long to shed those feelings.

“Probably after the first month,” Christman said. “I had the feeling that this was going to be ok.”

The project has an estimated four months remaining, and Norberg said that he was excited to see it finished and wants it to continue being a safe project.







GAMES