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Ethanol plant a go: Work to start in January

Work will begin on the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol plant sometime in January, according to information released by the company Thursday.

DSA is a planned 65-million-gallon per year renewable fuel plant owned by Great River Energy at Spiritwood.

When fully operational, the plant will purchase about 23 million bushels of corn. Along with ethanol, the plant will produce fuel-grade corn oil that can be used to make biodiesel and distillers grain which is used as livestock feed. The plant has a $155 million price tag and will employ about 275 during construction and 36 people when operational.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held for the project in August, attended by the North Dakota congressional delegation, governor and other dignitaries.

“Groundbreaking was a big marker event,” said Greg Ridderbusch, vice president of business development and strategy for GRE. “We continued to organize the project but the fundraising remained.”

Ridderbusch said DSA looked to foreign investors.

“We worked very hard this fall on supporting international fundraising by partnering with CMB Export,” he said. “They are a national leader offering EB-5 opportunities to the international market.”

An EB-5 visa allows an investor to immigrate to the United States. The individual must invest $500,000 in a project in a high unemployment or rural area. The investor and his or her dependents are then allowed to immigrate to the United States.

“Since the groundbreaking, we’ve been working on that and the final design of the project and all the contracting work necessary for a large project,” Ridderbusch said.

Ridderbusch said contracts had been signed with Karges-Faulconbridge Inc. as project engineer and McGough Construction as general contractor.

Visible construction activity at the Spiritwood location is anticipated in January. Early construction priorities will include the grain receiving and storage facilities.

“We want those things in place to take in grain at the time of the harvest in 2014,” Ridderbusch said. “The facility startup is scheduled for the first quarter of 2015 with full commercial operation in the second quarter.”

GRE is also planning on bringing Spiritwood Station, its coal-fired electrical generating plant at Spiritwood, on line at the same time DSA begins operations. Steam from Spiritwood Station will be used as an energy source for the ethanol plant.

The Spiritwood Energy Park Association rail loop, currently in the bid process, should also be complete by the time DSA begins operation to provide rail access for the plant. Bids will be awarded in January with construction starting as soon as weather allows in the spring.

“We’re very excited for Dakota Spirit AgEnergy to be officially ready to move forward,” said Jamestown Mayor Katie Andersen. “We anticipate a positive impact on the community.”

Ridderbusch said the plant would not have become a reality without the assistance of leaders in Jamestown and the community.

“Many stakeholders have worked very hard collaborating with our team to bring the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy biorefinery plant to the start of construction,” he said. “People from the JSDC (Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.) and community farmers have given us assistance. It is a pleasure to work with everyone there.”

Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at knorman@jamestownsun.com

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