Hog Creek Wind seeks 36-month extension on certificate from Ohio board

Hog Creek Wind Farm LLC has asked the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) to extend its Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need from March 22, 2015, until March 22, 2018.

The Ohio board is expected to discuss and possibly act on the case during its upcoming meeting on March 9.

“Hog Creek has good cause for seeking this 36-month extension considering the recent changes to Ohio’s energy market,” the wind firm said in a Feb. 13 filing with the board. “This, coupled with Hog Creek’s progress in continuing to develop this project, warrants an extension of Hog Creek’s Certificate,” the firm said.

Given the pressing deadline, Hog Creek asked that the board grant its motion on an expedited basis. “Counsel for Hog Creek has contacted all parties of record and none object to an expedited ruling on this Motion. Moreover, the only intervenor in this proceeding, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, has been contacted and supports both the issuance of an expedited ruling and the sought extension of the Certificate,” the firm said.

The original certificate authorized JW Great Lakes Wind, LLC (JWGL) to build a wind-powered electric generating facility consisting of up to 27 wind turbines, with a capacity of roughly 50 MW, along with related roads and infrastructure. JW Great Lakes Wind is evidently a subsidiary of juwi GmbH.

The OPSB would subsequently approve the transfer of the state certificate to Hog Creek in July 2010. In 2011 Hog Creek won approvals for amendments to the certificate to authorize new turbine models and to increase the number of turbine models to 31.

Hog Creek said that a three-year extension of the certificate is reasonable because the wholesale electricity market in Ohio “dramatically changed with the advent of increasing supplies of natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. At the same time, there has been an overall, lower demand for electricity due to the general economic downturn.”

Together, these two factors resulted in lower prices that undercut Hog Creek’s ability to enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) for Hog Creek Wind’s energy and renewable energy credits sufficient to support construction and financing of the project.

Hog Creek also said there is a recent precedent for a three-year extension. OPSB recently granted such an extension to Hardin Wind Energy, in part because of market reasons.

Hog Creek also maintains that increasingly stringent regulation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the growing number of coal plant retirements point toward better market conditions for wind by 2018.

Hog Creek also said that it has actively worked to develop the project, including making landowner easement payments and continuing to work cooperatively with PJM toward maintenance of its interconnection position.

The case number for the Hog Creek certificate is 09-0277-EL-BGN.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.