FERC grants approval for newly-operational Rim Rock wind farm

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 4 granted a waiver request from NaturEner Rim Rock Wind Energy LLC related to a new, 189-MW wind farm in Montana.

Rim Rock had asked for a waiver of the obligations to file an Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), to establish and maintain an Open Access Same-Time Information System (OASIS) and to comply with the commission’s Standards of Conduct.

Rim Rock, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of NaturEner USA LLC, has constructed and owns a 189-MW wind facility located in Kevin, Mont. In its Aug. 20, 2012, request for waivers, Rim Rock stated that the Rim Rock facility was expected to commence operation around the end of August or early September 2012. Rim Rock said that it will sell energy at wholesale under its market-based rate tariff.

Rim Rock has entered into an agreement with MATL LLP under which MATL will provide long-term firm transmission service to Rim Rock over a transmission line that MATL is constructing. When completed, the MATL Line will run from Alberta, Canada, in the north, to a point in the south terminating at the Great Falls Substation on NorthWestern Energy’s transmission system. Under the MATL agreement, Rim Rock has rights for firm transmission service for delivery of its output over the MATL Line.

Rim Rock told FERC that construction of the MATL Line may not be fully completed before the expected operation date of the Rim Rock facility. Therefore, Rim Rock entered into a Temporary Use Agreement with its affiliate, NaturEner Glacier Wind Energy 1 LLC, that allows Rim Rock to utilize, on a temporary basis, a small portion of Glacier Wind 1’s generator lead line to deliver the output of the Rim Rock facility to the NorthWestern switchyard until Rim Rock is able to transmit power over the MATL Line.

NaturEner announced Dec. 31 the commencement of commercial operations at Rim Rock. The Rim Rock project represents a significant milestone for the company and brings NaturEner’s portfolio of operating assets up to 399 MW in the U.S.

The Rim Rock project is comprised of 126 Acciona AW77 1.5-MW wind turbines.  This is the third project completed by NaturEner in the area and expands its use of the highly reliable Acciona technology, the company noted. This timely completion ensures the project’s qualification for federal production tax credits, and will enable investment from its tax equity partner, San Diego Gas and Electric, said NaturEner.

“The Rim Rock Project will leverage off of the Company’s unique capacity to operate and dispatch intermittent generation sources through the newly certified Wind Watch Balancing Authority, the second wind only balancing Authority certified and operated by NaturEner,” the company added. “The NaturEner Operations Center (NOC) will coordinate with the Project’s partners to ensure a robust and consistent supply of power to the Western Interconnect.”

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.