Minnesota commission looks at permit for Odell Wind Farms project

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission at its March 6 meeting will look at whether to make a preliminary determination whether a site permit should be issued or denied for a 200-MW project of Odell Wind Farms LLC.

Odell Wind Farms proposes to construct a 200-MW Large Wind Energy Conversion System (LWECS) in Cottonwood, Jackson, Martin, and Watonwan counties in the south-central part of the state. Odell is evaluating wind turbines with rated outputs of 1.5 MW, 1.6 MW and 2.0 MW. Depending on the choice, this would result in the installation of between 100 and 133 turbines. The project area contains approximately 34,592 acres, of which 20,780 are currently leased for the project, commission staff noted in a Feb. 27 briefing memo.

Odell has filed a separate route permit application to construct a 115 kV transmission line, associated facilities and a 345/115 kV substation adjacent to the point of interconnection to the transmission grid.

Staff generally supported the proposal with several recommendations, including language in the draft site permit to require the filing of additional information regarding the Decommissioning Plan.

The Minnesota commission in October 2013 approved Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) to both buy outright and also buy power from 750 MW of wind capacity on Xcel’s Upper Midwest grid, including this project. Approved by Minnesota regulators were:

  • Courtenay Wind Farm, a 200-MW project near Jamestown, N.D., under a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy;
  • Odell Wind Farm, a 200-MW project near Windom, Minn., also under a power purchase agreement with Geronimo Energy;
  • Pleasant Valley, a 200-MW project near Austin, Minn., submitted by RES America Developments. RES would develop the project and transfer ownership to Xcel. The Pleasant Valley project is adjacent to the Grand Meadow wind project, which Xcel owns.
  • Border Winds Project, a 150-MW project located in Rolette County in north central North Dakota, near the Canadian border. RES would also develop the project and transfer ownership to Xcel.

All four projects are scheduled to be in service by the end of 2015.

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.