Minnesota commission agrees to delay for 201-MW wind project

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 27 agreed to extend the in-service deadline for the Flat Hill Windpark I LLC wind project from December 2010 to December 2015.

In February 2010, the commission granted Noble Flat Hill I LLC, now known as Flat Hill Windpark I LLC, a certificate of need for the construction of a 201-MW large wind energy conversion system in Clay County. In its certificate-of-need application, Flat Hill indicated that it expected the project to be in service by December 2010.

On April 4 this year, Flat Hill filed a petition to extend the project’s in-service date to December 2015, without the need for recertification or further hearing at the commission. Flat Hill explained that the delay in the in-service date was for two reasons.

  • First, the project had entered the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s (MISO) processing queue in 2007, but delays in the processing of the interconnection request have made meeting the project’s planned in-service date impossible.
  • Second, contested case proceedings with Radio Fargo Moorhead Inc. concerning the siting and routing processes for the Flat Hill project caused additional unforeseen delays in commencement of the project.

Under Minnesota statute, a delay of one year or less in the in-service date of a large generation facility previously certified by the commission is not subject to review by the commission. However, if an applicant seeks to delay a project’s in-service date by more than a year, the commission must evaluate the reasons for the proposed change and determine whether the change is acceptable without recertification.

“Having examined the record in this matter, the Commission concurs with the parties that the project’s in-service date should be extended to December 31, 2015, without recertification proceedings,” said the Aug 27 order. “The delay, while significant, is the result of factors outside Flat Hill’s control and will not adversely affect any party, community, or the public interest.”

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.