FERC orders Courtenay Wind interconnect dispute into settlement proceeding

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Jan. 12 sent into its settlement judge process a complaint by Geronimo Wind Energy LLC over transmission service for a 200-MW wind project in North Dakota.

On Oct. 23, 2014, Geronimo Wind Energy had filed a petition for declaratory order regarding transmission service over a transmission line running from Center to Maple River, North Dakota (Center-Maple River Line). In the Jan. 12 order, FERC set the petition for hearing and settlement judge procedures.

Geronimo states that it is currently developing and attempting to obtain financing for the 200-MW Courtenay Wind Farm in Stutsman County, North Dakota. Geronimo states that it negotiated a 200-MW Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Xcel Energy for the output of the Courtenay Project. Geronimo plans to interconnect the project at the Jamestown Substation, which is owned by Otter Tail Power and connects to 115-kV transmission lines owned by Otter Tail and to the Center-Maple River Line.

Geronimo states that in November 2012, it submitted to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) two requests for 100 MW of interconnection service (200 MW total). Geronimo states that it thereafter executed a generator interconnection agreement for the Courtenay Project with MISO.

Geronimo’s petition requests that the commission confirm that:

  • a 1966 Agreement between Otter Tail and Minnkota Power Cooperative gave Otter Tail the right to provide transmission service over the Center-Maple River Line;
  • Otter Tail’s transmission rights over the Center-Maple River Line have been assigned to MISO; and
  • the rateprovided by the MISO Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (MISO Tariff) is the only rate that may be charged for transmission service provided by MISO over the Center-Maple River Line.

Geronimo stated that Minnkota informed Geronimo that Minnkota’s consent is required before MISO can transmit over the jointly-owned Center-Maple River Line and that Minnkota must be compensated under its non-jurisdictional Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT). Geronimo contends that the 1966 Agreement provided both Otter Tail and Minnkota with the right to transmit energy over the entire system without any requirement that Minnkota grant its consent or that Minnkota be compensated.

Said the Jan. 12 FERC order: “Geronimo’s petition for declaratory order raises issues of material fact which cannot be resolved based on the record before us and are more appropriately addressed in the hearing and settlement judge procedures ordered below.”

MISO filed with FERC in September 2014 the generator interconnection agreement for this project, be located near Otter Tail Power’s Jamestown 345/115/41.6 kV substation in Stutsman County, North Dakota. The wind farm will consist of 100 Vestas V100-2.0 MW Mk7 turbines. The GIA calls for a commercial operation date of Nov. 30, 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.