Michigan PSC okays Consumers buy of power from Apple Blossom wind project

The Michigan Public Service Commission on Nov. 19 okayed an Oct. 13 application from Consumers Energy for approval of a 15-year renewable energy purchase agreement (REPA) with Geronimo Huron Wind LLC.

The REPA provides for 100 MW of renewable energy, capacity and renewable energy credits (RECs) from the Apple Blossom Wind Farm in Huron County, Mich. Consumers anticipates that the wind farm will provide approximately 284,700 megawatt hours of energy and 285,000 renewable energy credits annually.

The REPA also provides that Consumers will have the opportunity to purchase Apple Blossom after 13 years of commercial operation.

The REPA resulted from an unsolicited bid submission from Geronimo. Consumers contended that the contract meets the criteria of a state statute which permits the company to enter into an unsolicited contract if it determines that the proposal provides opportunities that may not otherwise be available or commercially practical. Consumers noted that it received two additional unsolicited offers, but concluded that the Apple Blossom project provided the best opportunity for customers.

Consumers further asserted that the contract price for Apple Blossom is lower than the company’s other REPAs, as well as its average power supply cost price, in part, because Geronimo is expected to take advantage of the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC).

The commission in the Nov. 19 approval said it has considered the REPA and finds that the contract provides reasonable and prudent conditions. The commission also agreed with Consumers that, especially in light of the status of the PTC, there are opportunities for the company to enter into competitively-priced contracts that are highly beneficial to customers.

In other recent developments for this project:

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 23 conditionally approved an unexecuted Generator Interconnection Agreement for this project, with the conditions based on a dispute about timing of project cost payments.  On Aug 26, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator filed the unexecuted agreement with Geronimo Huron Wind LLC and transmission owner International Transmission Co. (ITC).
  • Consumers Energy on Sept. 16 announced an agreement to purchase renewable energy from this 100-MW wind farm to be built in Michigan’s Thumb, which is a peninsula of land just north of Detroit that juts up between Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS). Consumers Energy has entered into a long-term agreement with Geronimo Energy to buy electricity from the Apple Blossom Wind Farm, which the developer plans to put into construction next year. “We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Consumers Energy, a leading Michigan utility,” said Blake Nixon, Geronimo Energy’s President, in a Sept. 17 statement. “The project has taken an important step towards providing Consumers’ electric customers and the local community with positive economic impact.”
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.