Getty/Black Oak wind projects in Minnesota nearing completion

Two affiliates of Sempra Energy applied July 20 at the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for approval to transfer an approval for one wind project to a Sempra company with a neighboring wind project.

In December 2012, the Minnesota commission issued Getty Wind Co. LLC and Black Oak Wind LLC a joint Certificate of Need for up to 82 MW for two projects combined.

  • In January 2013, the commission issued a Site Permit for an up to 40 MW Large Wind Energy Conversion System (LWECS) in Stearns County, Minnesota, to Getty for the Getty Project.
  • Also in January 2013, the commission issued a Site Permit for an up to 42 MW LWECS in Stearns County, Minnesota, to Black Oak for the Black Oak Project.

The commission issued Amended Site Permits to the projects in November 2014 due to changes in preliminary project layouts. The designated sites for the Getty Project and the Black Oak Project are adjacent to one another in Ashley, Raymond, Sauk Centre and Getty townships. Both projects have submitted all required pre-construction filings and held pre-construction meetings. Construction of both projects is well underway – road construction and turbine layouts are nearly complete, and the projects are preparing for delivery of turbine components. Site work and foundations are complete at the project substation.

In November 2014, Getty notified the commission that Black Oak had acquired Getty as a wholly-owned subsidiary, thereby bringing the projects under the common ownership of Geronimo Energy LLC. In April 2015, Black Oak and Getty provided notice to the commission that Black Oak Getty Wind Holdings LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sempra Energy, acquired Black Oak.

Following the acquisition, Getty remained a wholly-owned subsidiary of Black Oak, and thus, both projects were under the common ownership and control of Sempra Energy. In connection with project financing and for accounting purposes, Sempra Energy plans to merge Getty with and into Black Oak, such that Black Oak will be the surviving entity and both projects (and project assets, including wind leases) will be directly owned and held by Black Oak. Accordingly, Getty and Black Oak jointly submitted this July 20 application to transfer the Getty Site Permit to Black Oak.

While the Black Oak and Getty Site Permits are substantially similar, Getty and Black Oak do not request consolidation of the projects under a single site permit. Black Oak intends to continue construction and commence operations under the separate Site Permits. 

The merger will result in reduced administrative costs and reduce potential confusion between the projects, which both will sell power to the same power purchaser under the same power purchase agreement.

The Getty Site Permit authorizes construction of an up to 40 MW LWECS consisting of wind turbines and associated facilities, including wind turbine access roads, communications cables, an electrical collection system, a Project substation, and two meteorological towers, in Sauk Centre and Getty townships in Stearns County. To date, access roads and turbine foundations are approximately 90% complete for the Getty Project, and installation of the underground collection system is currently underway. The project substation is approximately 75% complete. Turbine delivery is scheduled to begin the last week of July 2016, and commercial operation is anticipated to commence in late Fall 2016.

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.