Minnesota agency reviews 105-MW Stoneray wind project

The Minnesota Department of Commerce on Sept. 9 filed with the state Public Utilities Commission a scoping report on what needs to be in an Environmental Report (ER) to be prepared for the 105-MW Stoneray Power Partners LLC wind project.

The company has applied for a Certificate of Need for the proposed 105-MW Stoneray Wind Farm in Pipestone and Murray counties. Stoneray Power Partners is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy (formerly enXco).

A final decision on turbine selection and design has not been made, but the project will consist of turbines with a rated capacity between 1.7 and 3.2 MW, the department noted.

There are currently 29,500 acres within the project boundary, with approximately 14,500 acres under site control. Chanarambie Power Partners LLC, another EDF Renewable Energy subsidiary, holds easements on approximately 3,500 additional acres of private land with the project area. Electricity from the project would be delivered into the Chanarambie Substation and distributed into the grid using the existing 115-kV transmission lines.

The CN and the site permit for this project are being considered by the commission in separate dockets.

A public meeting was held on Aug. 14 in Lake Wilson to receive comments on the scope of the environmental report. Approximately 45 persons attended the meeting. A public comment period closed on Aug. 30. Four residents commented during the Public Meeting. Two written comments were received during the comment period.

The comments offered at the meeting included questions on where turbines would be located (which landowners would be selected for siting); would transmission build be required (in this case a connection to the grid already exists with Chanarambie Substation); where does the power from the project go (a final off-take agreement is not yet in place); and are there government subsidies for the producer (in this case, the developer intends to time the project to take advantage of the expiring federal Production Tax Credit).

Two state agencies submitted written comments. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency submitted a reminder that a Construction Stormwater Permit is required for the project, and that a new permit became official on Aug. 1 with more stringent requirements for permanent stormwater treatment. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) submitted notes on the Casey Jones State Trail, biodiversity sites, updating threatened and endangered species lists, bat monitoring and Blanding’s turtles. DNR noted its concurrence that the project as planned is a low risk site for bird and bat fatality. DNR submitted additional comments on the Draft Site Permit.

No member of the public or any state agency recommended system or project alternatives to be considered in the Environmental Report.

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.