New Era Wind Farm argues for project extension

New Era Wind Farm LLC told the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission that it meets the criteria for extending its commission-issued site certificate for its 78-MW project without having to go through a brand-new site certification proceeding.

This wind project would be located in Goodhue County, Minn. On Dec. 31, 2012, New Era Wind Farm provided notice to the commission that it has experienced a number of delays preventing the start of project construction, and, consequently, the in-service date originally approved in the certificate of need proceeding has been delayed by more than one year.

New Era’s Feb. 8 filing contained reply comments in response to the commission’s Jan. 9 notice of a comment period for this application. It noted that the four issues outstanding are:

  • could the commission’s August 2011 need determination for the AWA Goodhue LLC project have reasonably resulted in a different decision under the criteria listed in state statutes if the relevant changed circumstances were known at the time of the decision?;
  • should New Era Wind Farm’s request for an in-service date delay to Dec. 31, 2013, be approved without recertification?
  • is the equity sale of 100% of New Era Wind Farm from American Wind Alliance LLC to Peter J. Mastic Holdings II LLC acceptable without recertification?

New Era said in arguing what’s allowed under the applicable state rule: “The Rule does not ask the Commission to weigh the reasons for delay or reassess the need for the project based on new data. Instead, it simply asks the Commission to place itself back within the facts that existed when it made its original decision to see if delaying the in-service date of the facility would have reasonably impacted the need determination. As pointed out in New Era’s Notice of Delayed In-Service Date and the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources’ January 15, 2013 Comments, the Commission’s need decision focused on Xcel Energy’s September 3, 2009 resource plan update. That resource plan supported the need for at least 100 MWs of additional wind resources every year from 2009 to 2022. Because the delayed in-service date is consistent with this need analysis, no further hearings are appropriate, and New Era asks that the Commission determine that the change is acceptable without recertification.”

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.