Geronimo Energy describes distributed solar offer to Xcel Energy

Geronimo Energy LLC is proposing to fulfill a need in a Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) resource plan case with nearly 148 MW (DC) of total solar capacity spread around at a number of locations in Minnesota.

Supplying Sept. 27 testimony about the proposal at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission was Glen Skarbakka, Vice President of Transmission of Geronimo Wind Energy LLC d/b/a Geronimo Energy LLC. The purpose of his testimony was to explain the interconnection- and delivery-related content of this Distributed Solar Energy Proposal.

Geronimo’s proposed solar facilities will be located at approximately 20 sites in close proximity to Xcel Energy substations dispersed across Xcel Energy’s service territory. Collectively, Geronimo refers to these areas as “Distributed Energy Generation Zones,” because the solar facilities are located and interconnected at separate, individual sites rather than at a single, large site. The solar facilities at each site range in size from 2 MW to 10 MW (AC). The total for the facilities is 113.5 MW (AC) or alternatively 147.55 MW (DC).

For example, the Albany site is rated at 13 MW (DC), the Annandale site is 3.25 MW (DC), and the largest of the sites, West Waconia and Lake Pulaski, are each at 11.05 MW (DC).

“From an interconnection perspective, smaller distributed sites, in contrast to one large project site, minimize the need for additional distribution and transmission infrastructure and efficiently use existing distribution and transmission infrastructure,” Skarbakka wrote. “By constructing the solar facilities sequentially in a single timeframe, Geronimo can achieve many of the economies of scale of a large site while reducing the need for potentially costly distribution or transmission infrastructure upgrades. Additionally, distributed solar facilities provide for a high level of reliability through their geographic diversity and can cause a reduction in losses on the transmission system when the facilities are located in close proximity to load centers.”

The company noted that the aggregate nameplate capacity of the Distributed Energy Generation Zones exceeds the proposed 100 MW (AC) size of this project because it has listed all primary and alternate sites. The final size of the project will be consistent with the 100 MW (AC) proposed size unless modified by the commission.

Elizabeth Engelking, Vice President of Development at Geronimo Energy, said in accompanying Sept. 27 testimony about Xcel’s solar need: “Xcel’s 2011-2025 integrated resource plan (‘IRP’) identified that Xcel had a capacity need of an additional 150 MW by 2017, increasing up to 500 MW in 2019. If selected through this competitive resource acquisition process, Geronimo’s Solar Proposal will be available to provide Xcel 100 MW (AC) of solar energy generation and 71 MW of accredited capacity by 2017.”

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.