The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission at its May 12 meeting will look at whether to approve an April 5 request from Nobles 2 Power Partners LLC for certain exemptions to commission data requirements for its up-to-300-MW wind project.
Commission staff, in a May 5 pre-meeting memo, said it agrees with the comments of both Nobles 2 Wind and state Department of Commerce staff, and recommends that the commission approve the exemption requests made by Nobles 2 Wind as conditioned by the department.
Nobles 2 Power Partners told the commission on April 5 that it plans to file an application for a Certificate of Need (CN) to construct and operate the Nobles 2 Wind Farm, an up-to-300-MW large wind energy conversion system in Nobles and Murray counties, Minnesota. Nobles 2 requested that the commission grant it exemptions from certain CN data requirements that are inapplicable and unnecessary to determine need for the project.
Nobles 2 said it has not made a final selection on wind turbine generators, but is proposing to utilize between 88 and 150 turbines ranging from 2.0 to 3.4 MW in size. In addition to wind turbines, the project will consist of an electrical collection system, access roads, permanent meteorological towers, substation and interconnection facilities, an operation and maintenance facility, and other infrastructure typical of a wind farm. The project will interconnect at an existing 115 kV line that is located in the west-central portion of the project footprint. Nobles 2 plans to construct the project on a schedule that facilitates an in-service date in 2018.
Nobles 2 seeks exemptions from certain data requirements that are specific to the operation and regulation of facilities proposed by utilities. For example, Nobles 2 seeks exemptions from data requirements that pertain to a utility’s “system,” i.e., “the service area where the utility’s ultimate consumers are located” and the facilities used to generate, transmit, and distribute electricity to that service area. Given that independent power producers, such as Nobles 2, do not have an assigned service area or “system,” the commission has held that data requirements seeking system-related information are unnecessary to determine need in such cases.