Headwaters Wind Farm makes progress at Indiana commission

Headwaters Wind Farm LLC got July 23 support from a witness for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor on its June 28 application to get the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to not govern its 200-MW wind project like the commission would an electric utility.

Ronald Keen, employed by the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) as a Senior Analyst within the Resource Planning and Communications Division, said this project is similar to other independent power projects where the commission has also declined jurisdiction.

Headwaters Wind Farm had submitted a response to Indiana Michigan Power’s (I&M) Request for Proposals (RFP) from qualified bidders for up to 200 MW of nameplate rated wind energy resources, issued Feb. 22. Ultimately, Headwaters Wind was selected by I&M to fulfill that full requirement, satisfying the commitment by I&M to secure and acquire 200 MW of renewable wind resources required by the Third Joint Modification of the New Source Review Consent Decree, adopted on May 14 by a federal court.

In addition to seeking the 200 MW of renewable energy and as part of the comprehensive environmental compliance plan mandated by the Consent Decree, I&M is also seeking IURC approval of the Rockport Clean Coal project. That project includes the addition by April 2015 of dry sorbent injection systems for SO2 control on the coal-fired Rockport power plant.

Headwaters Wind Farm is headquartered in Houston, Texas, and is a subsidiary of EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDR NA). EDPR NA currently operates the Meadow Lake Wind Farm complex in northwest Indiana.

The Headwaters Wind Farm project is located in Randolph County. Headwaters intends to install 100 Vestas V-110 2-MW turbines (nameplate capacity) on approximately 40,000 acres of land. The turbine supply agreement has not been completed, but Headwaters Wind expects to finalize an agreement before September, Keen noted.

Headwaters Wind and EDPR NA have assured the OUCC, verbally and in pre-filed testimony, that the established relationships the company has with leading wind turbine manufacturers will enable Headwaters Wind to meet the goals it has established to begin construction and eventually operate the wind project, Keen wrote.

Power from this project would move via overhead lines to a point of intersection at I&M’s DeSoto-Tanner’s Creek 345-kV transmission line.

I&M, a unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP),applied June 28 at the Michigan Public Service Commission for approval on this project. On Feb. 25, American Electric Power Service Corp. (AEPSC), as agent for I&M, issued the RFP for 200 MW of wind energy from sources located in either Indiana or Michigan. Final proposals were submitted by April 8. On June 5, I&M executed a renewable energy power agreement (REPA) with Headwaters.

As I&M evaluated potential renewable strategies, timing was a key factor. The federal subsidy (Section 45 Production Tax Credit (PTC)) for wind resources, set to expire at the end of December 2013, can provide a net benefit to I&M and its customers through a lower REPA rate.

I&M is seeking approval from the Michigan commission for purposes of cost recovery in Power Supply Cost Recovery (PSCR) proceedings. Although the Headwaters REPA provides renewable energy credits to I&M, I&M is not seeking, at this time, commission approval for the Headwaters REPA.

A renewable resource purchase will improve fuel diversity, lessen exposure to fuel price volatility and represent a valuable safeguard to ratepayers, I&M said. Wind generation technology has advanced and wind mapping has also improved to identify the best locations for the siting of wind resources.

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.