E.ON readies 200-MW addition to Indiana wind farm

Wildcat Wind Farm II LLC plans to build a 200-MW wind project in Indiana, with construction to start later this year, said the company in May 3 testimony filed at the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.

The company is asking the commission to decline jurisdiction over the project.

Paul Bowman, employed by E.ON Climate and Renewables North America LLC, has been delegated responsibility for the development of Wildcat Wind Farm II, he noted in May 3 testimony. He is the Senior Vice President of Development for E.ON and oversees the development of wind projects including the development of the Wildcat Wind Farm of which Wildcat II is the Phase II project entity. Wildcat Wind Farm II is a subsidiary of E.ON.

“The Project is a proposed wind generation facility that is anticipated to have the capability of generating up to approximately 200 megawatts (‘MW’) of electricity,” Bowman wrote. “The Project is located entirely in unincorporated areas of Grant and Howard Counties, Indiana. Construction of the Project is expected to commence by November 1, 2013.”

Discussions have been ongoing with various wind turbine manufacturers including General Electric, Nordex, Siemens, and Vestas, Bowman added. The company expects to select a turbine model and enter into a turbine supply agreement by September of this year.

While Congress extended the production tax credit (PTC) beyond Dec. 31, 2012, it required the initiation of construction during 2013 for projects to qualify for the PTC. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued guidance to help developers determine what qualifies as the initiation of construction. The IRS guidance provides that projects are considered to have begun construction for PTC purposes when significant physical work has begun, such as road construction, concrete work or off-site turbine assembly. Alternatively, the IRS guidance provides a safe harbor for projects that incur at least 5% of the total project costs by the end of 2013 and continue to make progress toward completion, Bowman explained.

“The extension of the PTC will be an aid in expanding the market for the electricity produced by the Project,” Bowman wrote. “That market, however, will exist even without the PTC as electric utilities continue to diversify their generation portfolios and look for alternatives to fossil generation. E.ON’s track record with developing successful wind energy projects will enhance the Petitioner’s ability to sell the Project’s electrical output.”

The company intends to interconnect the project with the Greentown Substation owned by American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP). Petitioner has not yet entered into an Interconnection Service Agreement (ISA) with PJM Interconnection and AEP, but believes it will execute an ISA by Aug. 1, 2013.

The project will require two overhead 138-kV transmission lines of approximately 7.6 and 3.6 miles in length, respectively, to carry the power from the project collector substations to the point of interconnection at AEP’s Greentown Substation.

“Petitioner would like to retain the benefits of the PTC extension and commence construction this year,” Bowman said. “Assuming all regulatory approvals and applicable permits are received, Petitioner plans to begin construction on or before November 1, 2013. The Project is anticipated to achieve commercial operation by December 31, 2014.”

E.ON last October dedicated its first wind energy project in Indiana, which was the 200-MW Wildcat Wind Farm I. That project is located in Tipton and Madison counties. The plant has a 20-year power purchase agreement for 100 MW of its output with Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), a unit of AEP, E.ON said at the time.

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.