FERC approves sale of Wisconsin wind farm to Wisconsin Electric

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Nov. 8 approved Wisconsin Electric Power to buy the company that controls the 30-MW Montfort wind project in Wisconsin.

On Sept. 28, Wisconsin Electric, FPL Energy American Wind LLC (FPLE American) and Badger Windpower LLC (Badger) filed an application under sections of the Federal Power Act requesting authorization for Wisconsin Electric to purchase all membership interests in Badger from FPLE American, the sole member of Badger. The jurisdictional facilities involved in the transaction include wind turbines, substation equipment, limited interconnection facilities, wholesale power sale agreements, other agreements, and associated books and records.

Wisconsin Electric is a wholly owned public utility operating subsidiary of Wisconsin Energy (NYSE: WEC). Wisconsin Electric owns or leases about 6,600 MW of generation capacity in the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) market, which it sells at wholesale to a limited number of wholesale requirement customers under a cost-based formula rate tariff or into the markets administered by MISO pursuant to Wisconsin Electric’s market-based rate tariff. In addition, Wisconsin Electric is an interconnected equity owner of American Transmission Co. LLC, which is a MISO transmission owner. Wisconsin Electric sells power at retail in Wisconsin and Michigan under retail tariffs on file with the state commissions of Wisconsin and Michigan.

Badger is an exempt wholesale generator with market-based rate authority. Badger owns a 30 MW wind project known as the Montfort Wind Farm, located in Iowa County, Wisc., which has been in operation since 2001. Montfort is within the footprint of the MISO market.

Applicants told FERC that through its power purchase agreement (PPA) with Badger, Wisconsin Electric is purchasing 25.5 MW of energy and capacity through 2026, with Badger selling the remaining 4.5 MW under a PPA with Wisconsin Power & Light (WPL) through 2021.

Applicants stated that FPLE American is the owner of all the membership interests in Badger. FPLE American is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC (NEER), which is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE).

Wisconsin Electric will acquire Badger by purchasing all of the membership interests from FPLE American. Applicants stated that Wisconsin Electric intends to dissolve Badger following the closing of the transaction and have the assets of Badger become part of Wisconsin Electric’s rate base. Wisconsin Electric’s PPA for the sale of 25.5 MW with Badger will be terminated and Wisconsin Electric will assume Badger’s rights and obligations under the PPA. Applicants state that the 4.5 MW PPA will be assigned to Wisconsin Electric from Badger pursuant to the terms of that PPA with WPL, a non-affiliated purchaser, and will not be disturbed by the transaction.

Applicants told FERC that in terms of market power issues, the 30 MW of generation being transferred is only 0.08% of the MISO seasonal uncommitted supply of 39,022 MW, raising the capacity of Wisconsin Electric and its affiliates from the conservatively-estimated current level of 3,571 MW of uncommitted capacity, or 9.15%, to 3,601 MW, or 9.23% of the total MISO seasonal uncommitted supply.

The FERC approval was from Steve Rodgers, Director Division of Electric Power Regulation–West.

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.