Minnesota PUC staff backs extra time for 105-MW Stoneray wind project

On the agenda for the June 30 meeting of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission members is an application from Stoneray Power Partners LLC for extra time to build an up-to-105-MW wind project.

The Stoneray Project was defined in a commission-issued site permit from 2014 as an up to 105 MW (nameplate) capacity large wind energy conversion system (LWECS) consisting of up to 62 turbines and associated facilities. Four turbine models are under consideration that range in size between 1.7 to 3.2 MW. The project site is located in Rock and Burke townships in Pipestone County, and Chanarambie and Cameron townships in Murray County.  

The applicant’s original schedule was for the project to be in-service by the end of 2015. On May 19 of this year, Stoneray filed a petition that requested:

  • an extension of the certificate of need in-service date to December 2018;
  • an extension of the two-year deadline in the site permit for obtaining a PPA and beginning construction to May 19, 2018; and
  • an extension of the 30-year term of the site permit from the date of the approved amendment.

Stoneray cited reasons for the delay as the downturn in the wind industry in the year its site permit was issued, the uncertainty in the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) extension, and the project’s delay in navigating the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) interconnection process.

Stoneray requested that the commission accept a change in the in-service date for the Project from December 2015 to December 2018 without recertification. Stoneray asserted that an extension should be granted because: the wind market has rebounded; the company has diligently continued to develop the project (by executing additional land leases to optimize the project footprint, received Federal Aviation Administration Determinations of No Hazard for its proposed layouts, among other project-related work); the company has continued working through the MISO interconnection process; and commission precedent supports approving an initial extension.

In a June 23 memo to the commissioners, commission staff recommended approval of the extensions.

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.