North Dakota PSC reviews 172-MW Infinity wind project

The North Dakota Public Service Commission plans Oct. 23 hearings on two Aug. 12 applications from Antelope Hills Wind Project LLC for a 172-MW wind farm and the power line needed to interconnect this project with the grid.

Antelope is seeking a Certificate of Site Compatibility to construct the Antelope Hills Wind Energy Project. It is located in Mercer County, North Dakota, and will have a nameplate capacity of up to 172 MW. The project will use up to 86 wind turbine generators depending on the turbine model used. Additional project facilities include access roads, electrical collection systems and cabling, an operation and maintenance building, and a substation.

The project also includes a 9.5-mile 345-kV transmission tie line, which is addressed in the separate application for a Certificate of Corridor Compatibility and Route Permit. The project is located in northwestern Mercer County, northwest of the town of Beulah, and north of the towns of Zap and Golden Valley.

Depending on the turbine model selected, the project would install up to 86 turbines to meet the full generation capacity of 172 MW. The three models that are currently being considered are the Siemens 2.3-108, Vestas V-100, and the Vestas V-110. The exact turbine model that will be utilized for the project will be decided at a later time.

Antelope is targeting the start of construction for early 2015, provided all pre-construction permits and approvals have been obtained. The target date for operation is the end of 2015.

Company cites regional need for renewable energy

“A regional need exists for renewable energy produced in North Dakota,” said the wind project application. “Eleven of the 17 Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) states currently have renewable portfolio standards. According to the MISO Transmission Expansion Plan for 2012, the MISO region needs to add between 4,484 and 11,290 MW of new capacity or 3,865 and 9,733 MW of demand reduction to meet the minimum Planning Reserve Margins in 2022. 9,912 MW of retirements are assumed to occur from 2015 onward due to EPA regulations.

“Depending on the projection scenario, MISO assumes anywhere from 13 to 60 gigawatts (GW) of incremental wind penetration. Seventeen multi-value transmission projects have been integrated into the MISO planning models, which will relieve a major part of MISO’s internal future congestion and deliver wind energy more efficiently.

“Within North Dakota, the expansion of oil and gas operations within the Bakken Formation is anticipated to significantly increase future load growth. In 2012, the North Dakota Transmission Authority commissioned a study to forecast future load growth demands due to the increased development in the Bakken Formation over a 20 year period. Based on modeled load growth projections, North Dakota alone is expected to need an additional 1,830 MW by 2017, 2,400 MW by 2022, 2,769 MW by 2027, and 3,030 MW by 2032.”

In 2013, Basin Electric Power Cooperative issued a request for proposals for short- and long-term baseload of 25 MW of capacity or higher for intermediate and peaking capacity starting in 2016. Antelope submitted a proposal to supply power from the this project, which was selected by Basin. Antelope now has a fully executed power purchase agreement with Basin for the power produced by the project.

The 9.5-mile-long transmission line would convey power from the proposed Antelope Hills Wind Energy Project to the interconnection point at the existing switchyard of Basin Electric’s Antelope Valley Station. The project transmission line would be located entirely within Mercer County.

Basin Electric announced in November 2013 that it had signed two power purchase agreements associated with the development of two new wind projects in North Dakota. The developer is Infinity Wind Power of Santa Barbara, Calif. Infinity will be developing the Sunflower Wind Project and the Antelope Hills Wind Project. The Sunflower Wind Project is a 106 MW project to be located in Morton County near Hebron, N.D.

Other wind projects possible for the area around the Antelope project

Notable is that Antelope says in the wind farm application that there are several “reasonably foreseeable” future wind projects in the general vicinity of its project. They are:

  • Sunflower Wind Energy Facility, Sunflower Wind Project LLC, 110 MW, Morton and Stark counties, 37 miles from Antelope project;
  • Bison IV, Minnesota Power, 210 MW wind, Oliver and Mercer counties, 28 miles;
  • Oliver III, NextEra Energy Resources LLC, 48 MW wind, Morton County, 44 miles;
  • Wilton IV, NextEra Energy Resources LLC, 96 MW wind, Burleigh County, 56 miles; and
  • New Frontier Wind Energy Project, Meadowlark Wind I LLC, 102 MW, McHenry County, 52 miles.
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.