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Keith Norman, Published August 05 2013

Spiritwood, N.D., biorefinery to break ground Friday

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – An ethanol plant in the planning stages for two years now has a date set for breaking ground and starting construction, according to Rich Garman, project engineer for Great River Energy.

“It’s all moving very quickly,” Garman said about the start of construction of the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy plant. “The general contractors are on board and everything is moving forward.”

The groundbreaking ceremony is set for Friday at the grounds of Great River Energy’s Spiritwood (N.D.) Station.

The ceremonial first shovels of dirt will take place across the road at the DSA location immediately after the presentations. Anticipated speakers include Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Sens. John Hoeven and Heidi Heitkamp, Rep. Kevin Cramer and local officials.

“As soon as the governor sets the shovel down, the construction crews will hit the ground,” Garman said.

Production in 2015

The plant has an estimated construction cost of about $150 million and will employ about 275 people during construction. Once completed, the plant will employ about 36 people and use about 23 million bushels of corn to produce about 65 million gallons of ethanol each year. Production is slated to begin in January 2015.

“We’ll start out as corn-based and see what the future brings,” Garman said.

The plant will also use steam from Spiritwood Station, which is currently shut down due to a lack of demand for electricity in Minnesota.

“Starting up Spiritwood Station is in response to this,” Garman said. “We’ve already started the process of getting it ready to come online.”

Garman said he anticipated electricity production at Spiritwood Station and ethanol production at DSA to both begin in January 2015.

Rail loop

The start of construction on DSA also means the start of work on the rail loop at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association location.

The rail loop at the SEPA site will provide rail service to the DSA as well as other possible projects in the area.

“We’ll start the bidding process for the dirt work a couple weeks after the work on DSA starts,” Garman said.

Constructing the raised bed or roadway for the rail loop is planned for this year with the construction of tracks set for 2014.

The SEPA industrial park is a joint project of Great River Energy and the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.