The Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Facility Permitting staff has completed and issued to the public an environmental report (ER) for the Ellerth Windpark Project of Ellerth Wind LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of TCI Renewables Ltd.
Anywhere from 43 to 61 turbines would be used for the Ellerth project, with the final number depending on the size and model of turbine selected. The three turbines under consideration (General Electric 1.6 MW, Vestas 1.8 MW V90, and Siemens 2.3 MW SWT–101) vary in size and capacity. However, the total nameplate capacity for the Ellerth facility would be limited to 98.9 MW, the department said in a June 8 public notice.
The project is located about two miles west of Newfolden and four miles north of Viking in Marshall County. The project area encompasses about 33,709 acres of mostly agricultural land. Ellerth Wind currently has agreements with landowners over approximately 18,870 acres of private land within the project area.
In May 2011, Ellerth Wind filed a certificate of need application with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the Ellerth Windpark. This is a large energy facility as defined by Minnesota statute, so it requires a certificate of need from the commission. As part of the application review, the Department of Commerce (DOC) must prepare an environmental report. DOC Energy Facility Permitting staff is responsible for preparing the report.
The project consists of wind turbines and associated facilities, which include access roads, electrical collection lines (about 38 miles), communication lines, turbine access roads (about 19 miles), transformers, tower foundations, meteorological towers, an operations and maintenance building and a project substation to connect the project to an existing Otter Tail Power 115-kV transmission line located within the project site. The utility is part of Otter Tail Corp. (NASDAQ: OTTR).
“As an independent power producer, Ellerth Wind plans to sell the power generated by the project to one or more utilities to satisfy the Renewable Energy Standards defined in Minnesota Statutes, Section 216B. 1691,” said the environmental report. “Accordingly, alternatives examined in this Environmental Report (ER) are limited to technologies that support Minnesota’s Renewable Energy Standards objective. These alternatives include: (1) a generic 98.9 MW wind generation project sited elsewhere in Minnesota, (2) a 38.5 MW biomass plant, and (3) the ‘no build’ option.”