North Dakota PSC reviews application for 100-MW Rolette Power wind project

The North Dakota Public Service Commission has scheduled a June 29 hearing on a March 20 application from Rolette Power Development LLC for a Certificate of Site Compatibility to construct the 100-MW Rolette Wind Power Project.

The project would encompass an approximately 14,720-acre project area and would be located approximately three miles south of the City of Rolette, in Rolette County, North Dakota. The project would generate approximately 100 MW and would result in the construction of up to 59 wind turbines, depending on capacity of the turbines that are placed.

Rolette Power is jointly owned by M-Power LLC and Border Power LLC. Rolette Power does not currently own or operate any facilities. Rolette Power proposes to begin construction by 2015, with an anticipated in-service date of end of 2015 or early 2016. Rolette Power anticipates that a portion of the project’s output would serve the needs of one or more regional utilities and their customers. Any remaining portion of the output would likely serve the needs of one or more utilities located within the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) service territory, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) service territory, or within a service territory adjacent to either the MISO or WAPA service territories.

The turbine size and manufacturer has not yet been determined. It is anticipated that a power purchase agreement will be completed in the near future. As the turbine is not known at this time, this application assumes a ‘worst-case scenario’ regarding environmental impacts. These assumptions include impact analysis based on the maximum number of potential turbine locations (59), largest possible rotor diameter (117 meter RD), tallest hub height (96 meter HH), loudest turbine and highest shadow flicker hours. This would ensure that the desired certificate would cover the greatest impact possible. Rolette Power anticipates that it will use a turbine model with an output of between 1.7 MW and 3.0 MW.

“Given the intermittency of the Federal Production Tax Credit (PTC), Rolette Power is positioning its Project development timing and investments in such a manner that it can respond to another extension of the PTCs,” the application noted.

Definitive plans and schedules for addition or expansion have not been determined at this time. However, should the opportunity arise for expansion or addition to the proposed project, Rolette Power said it would take action to develop additional regions of the study area that have been deemed suitable for expansion.

The project’s initial development was led by the Rolette Area Development Authority (Rolette ADA), Rolette Job Development Authority (Rolette JDA), the City of Rolette and the Rural Economic Partnership (REAP) Investment Fund of Minot, North Dakota. The initiative began with a promising wind resource study commissioned by the community development entities in 2006. In September 2010, the Rolette leaders sought the help of M-Power of Finley, North Dakota. M-Power had recently completed a successful landowner-driven, community-based 170-MW wind project in Griggs and Steele counties, North Dakota.

After several exploratory meetings which revealed common interests and mutual approaches to landowner, community, and investor goals, Rolette Power was formed in June 2012. The project would be constructed, owned and operated by Rolette Power. Border Power is out of Rolette, N.D. Border Power’s ownership consists of 27 participating landowners within the footprint of the proposed wind farm in Rolette County, 46 local investors, 30 M-Power investors, and community development organizations, including the Rolette ADA; the Rolette JDA; the City of Rolette; and the REAP Investment Fund of Minot, North Dakota. M-Power’s ownership consists of 97 participating landowners in its wind farm footprints in Griggs and Steele Counties, 64 local investors, as well as four community development organizations, including: Zone Investments LLC, the Griggs-Steele Wind Development Group, Steele County JDA, and Hope Area Investments LLC.

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.