Invenergy offers new and expanded gas plant capacity to Xcel

An expansion of the existing Cannon Falls gas-fired power plant, and a proposed greenfield gas plant in Minnesota, are both cost-effective options to provide new capacity to Northern States Power d/b/a Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL), said James Shield of Invenergy LLC.

Shield, the Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Invenergy, provided Sept. 27 testimony at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in support of Invenergy’s April 15 bid in an Xcel request for proposals for new capacity in the 2017-2019 period.

The commission has found that Xcel will need an additional 150 MW in 2017, increasing to up to 500 MW by 2019, though Xcel said in its own Sept. 27 testimony that the latest data shows a lower need than that. A September 2013 resource need update from Xcel indicates a capacity deficit of 93 MW in 2017, growing to 307 MW by 2019.

Invenergy’s Cannon Falls Energy Center commenced commercial operations in 2008. It is a 357-MW peaking facility, consisting of two simple-cycle, dual-fuel General Electric 7FA combustion turbines. The output of this project is sold to Xcel under a long-term power purchase agreement reviewed and approved by the Minnesota commission.

The proposed Cannon Falls Expansion calls for the development of about 179 MW of extra capacity using one simple-cycle, GE 7FA Combustion Turbine Generator (CTG) to be located at the Cannon Falls facility in Goodhue County, Minn. The Cannon Falls Expansion is scheduled to be operational as early as Jan. 1, 2016.

The Cannon Falls Expansion will include a fully dispatchable, operationally flexible and highly efficient peaking generation resource, providing reliable generating capacity to Minnesota and the Xcel system, Shield wrote. To illustrate the reliability of the proposed generation resource, the existing Cannon Falls peaker has had a 96.9% capacity availability factor over the last two years. After adjusting for planned outages, Cannon Falls has a reliability of 99.2% of the time since the commercial operation date.

Another plus, Shield noted, is that the Cannon Falls Expansion will be located just south of the Twin Cities metropolitan region, providing geographic diversity relative to other Xcel generation resources, predominantly-located to the northwest and southwest of the Twin Cities.

The Cannon Falls Expansion will interconnect to the new 345 kV Hampton Substation via a combination of about one mile of new transmission line and eight miles of underbuild to the approved Hampton to Rochester transmission project. For its natural gas supply, the Cannon Falls Expansion will interconnect to the existing natural gas pipeline of Greater Minnesota Transmission LLC at the existing Cannon Falls facility.

Invenergy would execute a fixed price power purchase agreement (PPA) with Xcel in which Invenergy assumes construction and operation cost risk rather than the ratepayers.

Greenfield Hampton Energy Center gas project also offered in the RFP

Invenergy’s other offer in the RFP, called the Hampton Energy Center Proposal, calls for the development of approximately 357 MW of capacity using two simple cycle, GE 7FA Combustion Turbine Generators (CTG) to be located at a new site just north of Hampton in Dakota County, Minn. Hampton is scheduled to be operational as early as Jan. 1, 2016, but no later than Jan. 1, 2017. Invenergy proposes to develop the Hampton project with a design and configuration that is very similar to the existing Cannon Falls facility.

As with the Cannon Falls Expansion, Hampton will include a fully dispatchable and  operationally flexible highly efficient peaking generation resource, providing reliable generating capacity. Similarly, Hampton will be located just south of the Twin Cities metropolitan region.

Invenergy has optioned property that is immediately adjacent to the property where the new 345 kV Hampton Substation is being built on the 345 kV grid as part of the CapX2020 transmission upgrades that are scheduled to be installed by 2015. Hampton will interconnect with the new Hampton Substation.

Hampton will also interconnect to an existing natural gas pipeline of Greater Minnesota Transmission (GMT) that runs less than one half mile from the proposed project site.

Invenergy will integrate Hampton personnel and operations with the existing Cannon Falls facility which is located about 10 miles from the proposed Hampton site, resulting in cost-saving synergies.

Xcel, in its Sept. 27 testimony, recommended that the commission select Xcel’s own Black Dog Unit 6 gas-fired project in combination with either the Cannon Falls Expansion or Calpine‘s (NYSE: CPN) Mankato gas plant expansion to address the company’s range of potential need in the 2017-2019 time period.

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.