New Era Wind Farm LLC wrote a Sept. 6 letter to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, which was received by the commission on Sept. 16, saying it is calling it quits on a 78-MW wind farm planned for Goodhue County, Minn.
“New Era no longer intends to develop a wind energy project in Goodhue County…,” said the letter. The company asked the commission to terminate four existing dockets for this project. It also asked to withdraw an updated bat and avian study and also a request for extension of a Certificate of Need, and for termination of an August 2011 site permit.
New Era noted that Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) had recently indicated voluntary termination of two power purchase agreements related to this project.
Finding that the company did not meet statutory mandates, the Minnesota commission on July 26 ordered AWA Goodhue Wind LLC to either begin construction right away or give up a site permit for this 78-MW wind farm project. This case involved four closely related dockets: an application for a certificate of need to build a 78-MW wind farm (now called New Era Wind Farm) in Goodhue County; an application for a site permit for the wind farm; and a request for approval of two contracts to sell the electricity from the wind farm to Xcel.
The prior orders based their determinations on the project’s anticipated in-service date of Dec. 31, 2011. The wind farm was not built on schedule, however, and on Dec. 31, 2012 – the last day of the one-year grace period provided under the certificate of need rules – the project owner had filed a request to extend the Certificate of Need’s in-service date until Dec. 31, 2013.