Minnesota PUC to review Stoneray wind project application

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has on the agenda for its July 11 meeting a recent application by Stoneray Power Partners LLC for a 105-MW wind project in Pipestone and Murray counties.

On June 10, Stoneray filed an application for a large wind energy conversion (LWECS) Site Permit. On the same day, the commission issued a notice soliciting comments on the completeness of the application. On June 21, the Department of Commerce Energy Facilities Permitted Staff (DOC EFP) filed comments on the completeness.

The proposed site is located near the community of Woodstock and the majority of the project is to be located in Rock and Burke townships, however parts of the project footprint encompass Chanarambie and Cameron townships. The total project area is approximately 29,500 acres and the applicant and parent EDF Renewable Energy have over 18,000 acres under site control.

The project will consist of up to 62 wind turbines. Four turbine types are still under consideration which range in size from 1.7 to 3.2 MW. The project will have a maximum total nameplate capacity of 105 MW.

Stoneray Power Partners is a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy, which was formerly enXco Development Corp.

The project is being developed to provide renewable energy and capacity to Minnesota utilities or other wholesale purchasers to aid utilities in meeting state renewable mandates in the region, commission staff noted in a July 3 briefing paper. Stoneray intends to begin construction by 2014 and commercial operation by the end of 2014.

As the Department noted in its comments, enXco Development was granted a site permit by the state Environmental Quality Board in 2005 for the 105-MW Stoneray Wind Project in the same general vicinity. EDF has abandoned that approval and project and instead has applied for a new Site Permit.

The Department had various criticisms about the application, including:

  • the decommissioning section needs to be further developed;
  • the application does not include an Avian and Bat Protection Plan (ABPP) or Bird and Bat Conservation Strategy (BBCS) and instead, the applicant indicated that a plan would be completed prior to operation of the project; and
  • two application clarifications need to be made, one that the applicant refiles its turbine layout maps with better descriptions of the turbine types on each map, and two that it resubmit Figure 9 to the application with the map information overlaid onto a topographic background.
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.