Indiana commission declines jurisdiction over NextEra wind project

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission imposed some minor conditions, but otherwise granted a request from NextEra Energy Bluff Point LLC to have its 120-MW wind project placed outside of commission jurisidiction.

On Jan. 31, NextEra Energy Bluff Point filed its petition for certain determinations, declinations of jurisdiction and approvals relating to its proposed construction of an approximately 120-MW wind-power generating facility located in Jay and Randolph counties, Ind. This project company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC, with the ultimate parent being NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE).

The company requested the commission decide that the public interest allows it to decline to exercise its jurisdiction over petitioner with respect to the construction, ownership and operation of, and any other activity in connection with, the facility. Petitioner will be a wholesale provider of electricity and will generate electricity from wind, a renewable energy resource, for sale in the wholesale power market.

The long-term plan is for NextEra Energy Bluff Point to generate up to approximately 120 MW from 70 turbines. The power output from the facility will be sold exclusively in the wholesale electric market. Petitioner will self·certify the facility as an exempt wholesale generator and apply for market-based rate authority under rules and regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Therefore, its wholesale rates for power will be subject to FERC regulation.

The company indicated to the Indiana commission that it is not seeking authority to exercise certain of the rights, powers, or privileges of an Indiana public utility in the construction and operation of the wind facility, including the power of eminent domain, and any exemption from zoning and land use regulation.

The facility is expected to interconnect with PJM Interconnection LLC‘s transmission system. The company said it has already entered into an Interconnection Construction Service Agreement with PJM and AEP Ohio Transmission Co. Inc. The facility electrical system will consist of; a 34.5-kV collection system, which will collect energy generated by each wind turbine and deliver it via electric cables, which will be primarily, if not entirely underground; and a new substation created for the facility, where the collection system voltage of 34.5 kV will be increased to 138 kV for delivery to a PJM 138-kV substation.

“Pursuant to the provisions set forth in Indiana Code § 8-1-2.5-5, the Commission finds that declining to exercise its jurisdiction over Petitioner and the Facility will facilitate the immediate construction of the proposed Project and add needed generation capacity in Indiana,” said the commission’s April 3 decision. “This should be beneficial for those public utilities that may indirectly have access to the power produced, and to the State of Indiana. We further conclude that the Commission’s declining to exercise jurisdiction over Petitioner will promote energy utility efficiency. Moreover, Petitioner has demonstrated that it has the technical, financial and managerial capability to construct and operate the proposed Facility. It has also shown that the wholesale market for electricity in Indiana will benefit from the addition of the generating capacity and therefore that its market entry is reasonable.”

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.