Indiana commission grants approval for Headwaters Wind Farm

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on Sept. 19 decided not to regulate Headwaters Wind Farm LLC and its 200-MW wind project as a “public utility,” which is something that the developer asked for in a June 28 petition.

This wind facility would be located in Randolph County, Ind. The case for the project was presented by Bill Whitlock, Executive Vice President, Eastern Region for EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR).

Headwaters Wind Farm is a subsidiary of EDPR. EDPR is a wholly owned direct subsidiary of EDP Renovaveis SA, which is a subsidiary of Energias de Portugal SA, a large investor-owned utility based in Portugal. EDPR’s expertise includes the development, construction and operation of wind generating facilities in the United States.

The power output from this facility will be sold exclusively in the wholesale electric market. Petitioner will self-certify the facility as an exempt wholesale generator and apply for market-based rate authority under rules and regulations of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The project is expected to interconnect with Indiana-Michigan Power‘s (I&M) 345-kV DeSoto-Tanner’s Creek transmission line. An overhead 345-kV transmission line of up to 11 miles in length would transmit electricity to the point of interconnection with the I&M line.

The I&M unit of American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) applied June 28 at the Michigan Public Service Commission for approval to take power from this project. That application was still pending as of Sept. 24.

On Feb. 25, American Electric Power Service Corp. (AEPSC), as agent for I&M, issued a request for proposals (RFP) for 200 MW of wind energy from sources located in either Indiana or Michigan. Final proposals were submitted by April 8. Headwaters was selected from these proposals. 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, the utility noted in its Michigan application.

Marc Lewis, employed by I&M as Vice President of Regulatory and External Affairs, testified that the Headwaters Wind REPA will allow I&M to fulfill its commitment under the recent modification of the New Source Review Consent Decree with the federal government. AEP entered into the Consent Decree to resolve the allegations filed against AEP and its affiliates (including I&M) related to the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

The Third Modification to the Consent permits I&M to satisfy its near-term emission reduction obligations by installing and operating dry sorbent injection (DSI) technology on both coal-fired Rockport units by April 16, 2015. In addition, I&M committed to secure an additional 200 MW of wind energy, provide additional mitigation funding to the states, and create a fund to support other energy efficiency and small-scale renewable projects.

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.