FERC conditionally accepts interconnect for 100-MW Apple Blossom wind project

The members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 23 conditionally approved an unexecuted Generator Interconnection Agreement for the 100-MW Apple Blossom wind project in Michigan, with the conditions based on a dispute about timing of project cost payments.

On Aug 26, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator filed the unexecuted Generator Interconnection Agreement with Geronimo Huron Wind LLC (Huron Wind) and transmission owned International Transmission Co. (ITC). FERC conditionally accepted MISO’s Unexecuted GIA, effective Oct. 25, subject to the outcome of another docket.

Huron Wind is developing a 100-MW wind facility in Huron County, Michigan (called the Apple Blossom project), and seeks to interconnect with ITC’s transmission facilities, which are under the functional control of MISO.

The Unexecuted GIA provides for $15,150,000 in network upgrades to be constructed by ITC, including $7,980,000 for the addition of a transformer and associated equipment at ITC’s Grassmere Substation and $7,170,000 for 5.3 miles of new double-circuit towers from the existing Harvest Wind tap point to the Grassmere Substation. In the Aug. 26 filing, MISO stated that Huron Wind requested that MISO file the Unexecuted GIA as permitted by the MISO tariff and that MISO was filing the Unexecuted GIA to meet its tariff deadlines. However, MISO also stated that it does not take a position with respect to the feasibility of the timing of payments for construction upgrades in dispute between Huron Wind and ITC, noting that certain project milestones in the Unexecuted GIA negotiated by Huron Wind and ITC have now passed.

MISO further stated that although the GIA remains unexecuted, MISO would not amend the construction schedule until such milestones are met. MISO explained that Huron Wind requested that MISO file the GIA unexecuted because Huron Wind objects to Milestone No. 5 in Appendix B of the Unexecuted GIA, which requires Huron Wind to make a payment of $4,166,000 by Aug. 1, 2015, for the full cost of the long lead time items, including the transformer. Huron Wind’s position is that the $4,166,000 payment should either be required at a later date or at least be broken into smaller payments.

Said the Oct. 23 FERC order: “We conditionally accept MISO’s Unexecuted GIA, effective October 25, 2015, subject to the outcome of Docket No. ER12-309, et al., and subject to a further compliance filing due within 30 days of the date of this order, as discussed below. In regard to the timing of the Initial Payment, Huron Wind seeks to move the due date from July 1, 2015, to 30 days within the Commission’s acceptance of the Unexecuted GIA. Because the GIA was filed unexecuted and the Initial Payment was protested by Huron Wind (albeit as to timing not to the amount), we will require the Initial Payment to be provided to ITC within 30 days of acceptance by the Commission.

“We decline Huron Wind’s request to revise the second (upfront) payment to allow Huron Wind to make three installment payments equal to one-third of the amount of the total Transformer payment. We do not find it unreasonable for ITC to require full payment to start its procurement process. As to the date for that payment, we will permit the parties to revise it given our ruling on the Initial Payment date above.

“We reject Huron Wind’s arguments that ITC should be required to use its spare transformer in order for Huron Wind to meet its milestones, or that the Commission should require ITC to use an alternate vendor for purchasing the Transformer. We find that Huron Wind has not demonstrated a basis under which the Commission could grant these requests.

“Finally, given our rulings above regarding the timing of the initial payment and the second upfront payment, and given that ITC states that the in-service date of November 15, 2016, was, among other things, contingent upon the payment schedule contained in Appendix B of the GIA, the existing in-service date may need to be revised.”

The wind farm will consist of 50 Vestas V100 2.0 MW wind turbines. Project contact information is: Geronimo Huron Wind LLC, 7650 Edinborough Way, Suite 725 Edina, MN 55435.

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.