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Mark Nesbit, North Dakota principal manager with Xcel Energy, signs a ceremonial contract to build a wind farm with West Fargo-based Wanzek Construction on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. Wanzek Vice President Arnie Jelinek, left, and Vice President of Construction Rob Lee, right, also prepare to sign the contract.

West Fargo firm named as builder of wind farm in southeast North Dakota

WEST FARGO, N.D. — Wanzek Construction signed a contract with Xcel Energy on Tuesday, Oct. 24, to begin building one of North Dakota's largest wind farms in Dickey County.

Rob Lee, Wanzek's vice president of construction, said the project to construct 75 wind turbines in southeastern North Dakota will start in 2018 and erection of the turbines will begin in 2019.

Wanzek, based in West Fargo, N.D., plans to employ 150 to 200 people with the project, about 20 percent of which will be from the Dickey County area, Lee said.

"We do try to employ as many local people as we can," he said. "We'll hold job fairs probably in Aberdeen (S.D.) and Jamestown (N.D.)."

Mark Nesbit, North Dakota principal manager with Xcel Energy, said Xcel will employ about 40 full-time people through the project, named Foxtail Wind Farm.

The Foxtail Wind Farm is the third wind farm in North Dakota owned by Xcel Energy. Earlier this year, Xcel announced plans to build seven new wind farms in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa. The power company plans to have more than 10,000 megawatts of wind energy in its upper Midwest system by 2022.

Wanzek Construction was also hired by Xcel to build the Freeborn Wind Farm in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. Xcel Energy and Wanzek Construction have partnered before on wind energy projects, building a wind farm near Edgeley, N.D., in 2003.

West Fargo Economic Development Director Matt Marshall said the big project for a West Fargo firm like Wanzek is good for the entire community.

"It's really important to our community that companies get large contracts like this," Marshall said.