Maine to address request for approval of feasibility study involving Bangor Hydro Electric, wind farm’s interconnection

Maine regulators will hold an initial case and technical conference on Sept. 10 in relation to Bangor Hydro Electric’s request for approval of a feasibility study agreement between it, ISO New England and First Wind wholly owned subsidiary Weaver Wind.

The feasibility study to be conducted under the proposed agreement will study the feasibility of interconnecting 30 3.3 MW Vestas wind turbines, with a total nameplate capacity of 99 MW, 30 generator step up transformers – 690/34,500V transformers – feeding a 34.5-kV collector system with a main step up transformer – 34.5-kV/115-kV transformer, the state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said in its Aug. 29 notice of proceeding.

The project includes an approximately 15-mile, 115-kV generator lead interconnecting the project with BHE’s 115-kV Rebel Hill switching station. Alternatively, the feasibility study study will study connecting the Weaver Wind project to BHE’s Bull Hill switching station or the Northeast Reliability Interconnection at Township 34 MD, Maine, the PUC added.

BHE said in its filing that the feasibility study and related feasibility study task order document are confidential under a temporary protective order.

The company noted that according to the PUC’s April 30, 2012 order in Docket No. 2011-170, PUC approval is required for BHE to enter into an agreement to provide services to Weaver: No BHE employee, for instance, may provide services to any affiliate, including services relating to the commercial development of generation or sale of energy and services related to the engineering, construction and maintenance of generator leads and interconnection facilities, unless BHE first secures approval of a written agreement to provide those services.

BHE said its ability to comply with certain milestones in the feasibility study and the task order document will be compromised by delay in PUC approval of the study, adding that ISO-NE has requested that BHE execute the study and task order document by Sept. 6, and complete the feasibility study within 16 weeks. Accordingly, BHE said, it requests expeditious approval of the feasibility study and the task order document so that the company will be able to perform all activities under the feasibility study and task order document.

The feasibility study fully conforms with and does not deviate from the FERC-approved pro forma feasibility study agreement contained in the ISO open access transmission tariff (OATT), except that it has not yet been executed by the parties.

Under the feasibility study, BHE will participate in the study at ISO-NE direction and in consultation with ISO-NE and the other party to the feasibility study. ISO-NE will perform the study through a consultant, BHE added, noting that First Wind will pay for the study’s costs, which are estimated to be about $133,500, comprised of the ISO-NE’s estimated cost of $119,660 and BHE’s estimated cost of $13,840.

In providing system impact study services under the feasibility study, BHE will not give First Wind preferential treatment or provide any ratepayer subsidy to the Weaver Wind project.
BHE also said that approval of the feasibility study, including the task order document, is not adverse to the public interest as it is necessary for the company to perform services addressed in the feasibility study for Weaver to interconnect its proposed wind energy facility.

BHE is wholly owned by Emera.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3112 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.