John Weeda, who retired in 2017 as director of North Dakota Plant Operations for Great River Energy, has been selected to serve as the director of the North Dakota Transmission Authority by the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) as of Feb. 14.
Weeda is a Mandan, N.D., native, and worked 41 years with Great River Energy. He graduated from the University of North Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He spent the majority of his career at the Coal Creek Station, where he worked in various positions before becoming plant manager in 1989. He was promoted to director of North Dakota Plant Operations in 2010 and supervised all three of Great River Energy’s coal-based power plants – Coal Creek Station, Stanton Station and Spiritwood Station – until his retirement last year.
As director of the North Dakota Transmission Authority, Weeda will work with the NDIC to facilitate the development of transmission infrastructure in the state to accommodate new generation sources. The Transmission Authority is a builder of last resort, meaning that private business has the first opportunity to invest in and/or build needed transmission. Transmission is important to the state as industries in North Dakota export electricity to neighboring states. Generation sources include seven lignite-based power plants, the Garrison Dam, several wind farms and natural gas-fired turbines.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission consists of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. The NDIC oversees the North Dakota Transmission Authority, which was created by the Legislature in 2005.
In a joint statement, the North Dakota Industrial Commission members said, “John Weeda’s long career with an electric generation and transmission cooperative provides him with the necessary background to step into this new role. His service on the EmPower Commission has also given him a good understanding of all of North Dakota’s diverse energy resources – including oil and gas, coal-based electricity and renewables.”