Hoeven, Great River Announce EPA Approval of Dakota Spirit Ag Energy Permit

Certification Clears the Way for Model Biofuels Refinery

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven and Great River Energy (GRE) today announced that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Renewable Fuel Standard-2 certification for the company’s Dakota Spirit AgEnergy facility in the Spiritwood Park near Jamestown. Hoeven last summer pressed EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to expedite the approval process. Today’s notice of certification clears the way for GRE to market next generation biofuels as part of a model energy complex.

Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of GRE, will have a significant impact on the local economy, creating 36 direct jobs in the community. The project will also create approximately 275 trade and construction jobs during the 18-month construction period.

The biorefinery will use 23 million bushels of No. 2 yellow corn to produce annually 65 million gallons of ethanol, as well as corn oil and distiller’s grains. The facility will be located adjacent to GRE’s Spiritwood Station, a combined heat and coal-fired power plant, which will provide excess steam to produce ethanol at the biorefinery.

Future growth opportunities for the biorefinery are also being explored, including emerging technologies such as cellulosic feed stocks, and the production of isobutanol, an organic compound used primarily as a solvent.

The facility will also incorporate technology to meet the EPA’s revised Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires cornstarch-based ethanol production facilities built after 2007 to have lifecycle carbon emissions 20 percent lower than conventional motor fuels.

The Spiritwood Energy Park is a project that originated during Hoeven’s governorship under Empower North Dakota, the state’s first comprehensive energy plan, encompassing both traditional and renewable energy sources. The energy complex includes Spiritwood Station, a coal-fired plant that produces both electricity and steam, and now the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy facility. CHS, a Fortune 500 company owned by agricultural cooperatives and farmers and ranchers, is also planning to build a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in the park to take advantage of shared resources and infrastructure.

Hoeven said the project will become a national example of how combined heat and power can be used to enhance industrial efficiencies and lower the carbon footprint of transportation motor fuels.

“With the addition of Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, the Spiritwood Energy Park brings to life the concept of energy colocation – partnering traditional and renewable energy facilities to create new syntheses and drive the new technology that will create more energy with better environmental stewardship,” Hoeven said. “GRE’s is taking a step into the future with this ambitious new facility, which will bring the energy and agriculture industries together and take our nation one step closer to energy security.”

“I am pleased the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol biorefinery achieved its renewable fuels certification. The ability of this project to utilize the synergies of the water supply, energy and agricultural resources in our state is an excellent demonstration of North Dakota ingenuity,” said Congressman Kevin Cramer. “Our dynamic economy serves as a leader for the rest of the nation. The Dakota Spirit AgEnergy ethanol biorefineries expected creation of several hundred jobs certainly maintains this reputation.”

“The facility has limitless potential and is designed to do so much more with respect to advanced biofuels,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “In the future, cellulosic ethanol could also be produced at this plant using corn stover and wheat straw from local farmers.”

“We are pleased we could bring the EPA regulatory review of our unique RFS2 pathway to a successful and collaborative conclusion,” said Greg Ridderbusch, president of Dakota Spirit AgEnergy, and vice president of business development and strategy, Great River Energy.

To date, Dakota Spirit AgEnergy has completed business planning, engineering and now, RFS2 certification. The company will work to complete financing by spring and plans to break ground in the summer of 2013.