Minnkota to take power from 100-MW Oliver Wind III project in North Dakota

The North Dakota Public Service Commission, at its June 21 work session, is due to look at companion applications from the Oliver Wind III LLC unit of NextEra Energy Resources for certificates on a 100-MW wind project and the power line that will interconnect the project to the grid.

On June 1, Minnkota Power Cooperative, a wholesale electric generation and transmission cooperative in the region, filed a letter with the commission supporting the project. “Electric energy from renewable resources such as wind farms is an important component of Minnkota’s ongoing evaluation of the most reliable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly resources available to serve its members,” it wrote. “Specifically with respect to the NextEra Oliver Wind III Project, Minnkota has agreed to purchase all of the output of the facility (capacity and energy) on the terms and conditions set forth in a 35 year long term power purchase agreement.

“Minnkota needs to include renewable resources in its long term power supply portfolio to meet the requirements of existing and future environmental laws, rules and regulation. Additionally, the physical location of the Oliver Wind III Project provides geographical diversity for Minnkota’s wind generation and allows Minnkota to use its existing transmission facilities including the Center-Grand Forks 345 KV line. Lastly, Minnkota has a decade long history of working with NextEra. This history and NextEra’s track record in developing and successfully operating wind resources in the Upper Midwest contributed to the selection of the Oliver Wind III Project as a resource to meet Minnkota’s long term needs and objectives with respect to reliability and cost.”

The proposed project is located in Oliver and Morton counties, North Dakota, and will have a nameplate capacity of approximately 100 MW, consisting of up to 48 wind turbines using both General Electric (GE) 2.1 MW and GE 1.79 MW Xle wind turbine generators. Additional facilities include access roads, electrical collection systems and cabling, a collection substation, an operation and maintenance (O&M) building, meteorological towers, and a construction laydown area.

The proposed project will interconnect to the electrical grid via a tap to the existing Minnkota Power Cooperative Center-to-Mandan 230-kV overhead transmission line.

The project area encompasses approximately 21,878 acres in northeastern Morton County and southeastern Oliver County. It is estimated the permanent structures will occupy approximately 50 acres during operation. All but one turbine will be located in Morton County. Total cost of the wind project is estimated at $153 million. Total cost of the transmission line is estimated at $11.4 million.

Oliver Wind III LLC on April 8 filed a notice of self-certification as an exempt wholesale generator with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

NextEra Energy Resources is a unit of NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE).

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.