Minnesota PUC looks at Lake Country Wind Energy permit extension

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is due at its May 9 meeting to look at whether to extend the site permit for the delayed Lake Country Wind Energy LLC project.

The commission had issued a site permit to Lake Country Wind Energy to construct a 41-MW Large Wind Energy Conversion System (LWECS) in Kandiyohi and Meeker counties in February 2011.

On Jan. 14, Lake Country filed its petition for modification or amendment to the site permit, noted a May 2 briefing paper on the case written by the commission staff. The company wants the commission amend the existing LWECS site permit to extend the deadlines for obtaining a power purchase agreement and commencing construction to Feb. 8, 2015. Lake Country indicated that construction is anticipated to commence in 2013, but wishes to retain flexibility.

Lake Country argued that the commission has good cause to grant the extension since the project is well suited to begin construction within the new timeframe, substantial investments have already been made, and the commission has routinely recognized that the wind development process routinely takes greater than the two-year time frame provided in site permits.

Lake Country provided substantial background on its developer, National Wind (now owned by Trishe Wind), its project owners, its Midwest ISO status, among other information.

Lake Country requested three specific permit modifications:

  • the PPA and construction deadline extension to February 2015;
  • an extension of the permit to 30-years from the date of the reissuance; and
  • a revision to the turbine technology section in the site permit to a more generic turbine type description to allow for greater flexibility.

Lake Country provided additional information on its revised turbine type and layout in a March 12 filing. Lake Country said that it had now narrowed down the turbine selection to three options (Repower MM100 2.0 MW, Gamesa G97 2.0 MW, or GE 1.7 MW). Lake Country provided three different project layouts for consideration based on the turbine types and indicated that 18 of the 20 turbines are in the same locations identified in the preliminary turbine layout provided with Lake Country’s original permit. Two turbines were relocated based on avian surveys and alternative locations are provided on the revised layout maps. Lake Country and National Wind said that they do not believe the revised turbine layouts would constitute a material change in the findings previously made by the commission.

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.