BP Wind Energy plans additional wind farm in Jefferson County, N.Y.

BP Wind Energy North America Inc., through its Cape Vincent Wind Power LLC subsidiary, is developing the Cape Vincent Wind Farm in Jefferson County, N.Y., though the project is basically on hold right now as the state works through a change in its Article X permitting program.

BP Wind Energy is one of a number of companies that recently filed proposals for power generation and transmission projects with the state of New York under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Energy Highway initiative. The New York Power Authority is handling the proposals for a task force appointed by the governor. The task force is taking public comment on the proposals until July 31, then will release an action plan this fall.

With the acquisition of the neighboring St. Lawrence wind project in February, the Cape Vincent project now can reach upwards of about 285 MW in size, said BP Wind Energy. The site is right around the point where Lake Ontario connects into the St. Lawrence Seaway in upstate New York.

As it currently stands, BP Wind Energy would not rely on public funding for the construction of the project. BP Wind Energy will fund the project with a combination of equity and non-recourse project financing from major financial and energy institutions with whom BP has relationships, the company noted. Also, BP Wind Energy would not impose project debt as a condition to enter into long-term power purchase agreements.

The project will be located on previously disturbed private land, much of which is used for low-grade farming. BP Wind Energy said it has nearly completed the land lease and transmission rights-of-way contract work needed to support the full project layout.

The company expects to complete environmental and cultural studies, plus preliminary engineering, in the second half of this year. The start of detailed engineering would be in the first half of 2013. The signing of a turbine supply agreement would be in the second half of 2013, with a construction start in early 2014, and commercial operations starting in the second half of 2014.

The Cape Vincent project has been in development since the mid 2000s. During its development, the project has accumulated three years of avian/bat studies and conducted numerous other studies including wetland delineation, sound level, visual simulation, historic, transportation, and communications, all of which helped support the draft environmental impact statement and supplemental EIS compiled early last year, the company noted.

The supplemental draft EIS, located by GenerationHub, shows that the Cape Vincent project itself would have a capacity of 134 MW. It would include 84 GE 1.6-100 wind turbines within an approximately 11,000-acre area.

Changes to Article X permitting program slow project work

With the recent changes to New York permitting taking place under the Article X power plant siting process, the company is currently in the process of re-evaluating and identifying the few remaining studies that will be needed to proceed with permitting. “Given the revised Article X process currently underway, the project is awaiting final resolution before determining a path forward on permitting,” the company added. “Regarding interconnection, the project has completed its System Reliability Impact Study (SRIS) and Facility Study and is currently in negotiations with NYISO to finalize an Interconnection Agreement.”

BP Wind Energy said it will build a 115-kV transmission interconnection line, approximately seven miles in length, to interconnect the project to the New York ISO at the Lyme substation owned by National Grid. After conducting a system interconnection study of the project, NYISO determined that no network upgrades are needed to support the injection of the project’s capacity and energy into the grid.

The project sponsor would be BP Wind Energy, which may enter into a 50% partnership with large power industry participants. BP Wind Energy’s preferred source of project revenue is to enter into a long-term power purchase agreement with a creditworthy counterparty; however, other sources of revenue which will allow the project to be financed will also be considered.

BP Wind Energy acquired the neighboring St. Lawrence Wind Farm in February. Combining both projects into one wind farm will allow for several optimizations that will reduce the overall environmental impact compared to both projects proceeding on a standalone basis, the company noted. The combined Cape Vincent Wind Farm will cut the number of project substations to one, reduce the length of the transmission line, and allow for better spacing and siting to further reduce environmental impact.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.