RES Americas seeks North Dakota nod on 300-MW Glacier Ridge Wind project

Glacier Ridge Wind Farm LLC, a subsidiary of Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas), filed an application date July 15 with the North Dakota Public Service Commission for a Certificate of Site Compatibility for the proposed Glacier Ridge Wind Farm.

Project facilities are to be located in Barnes County, North Dakota. The proposed project will have a nameplate capacity of up to 300.15 MW, consisting of up to 87 Vestas V126 3.45-MW turbine generators. Additional facilities proposed in this application include access roads, electrical collection and communication systems and cabling, meteorological towers (one temporary and up to four permanent), an operation and maintenance building, and a substation.

The project will encompass an approximately 34,450-acre project area approximately 5 miles northeast of Valley City, Barnes County.

Glacier Ridge also plans to construct a 345-kV overhead generator tie line extending between 4 and 20 miles—depending on the point of interconnection selected. The transmission line must be permitted separately, and Glacier Ridge will submit a separate application for a Certificate of Corridor Compatibility and Route Permit for the line in 2017.

The project has historically been a joint development between RES Americas and Peak Wind Development LLC. Peak is a North Dakota limited liability company wholly owned by the landowners within the project area. The project was originated by Peak. RES Americas and Peak entered into an agreement to jointly develop the project in 2009. The unique partnership with Peak landowners has won for the project strong support in the local community, the application said.

RES Americas, through its affiliates, develops renewable projects throughout the United States, Canada, and Chile. RES Americas is one of the top renewable energy companies in North America, having constructed more than 160 renewable energy projects with total capacity of more than 10,000 MW around the world. RES Americas developed and constructed the 150-MW Border Winds Project in Rolette County, North Dakota, which was substantially completed in 2015.

The proposed project will have a nameplate (gross) capacity of 300.15 MW. Assuming a net capacity factor of 39.6%, projected average annual output is estimated at 1,041,208 MW hours (MWh) per year. As with all wind energy projects, output depends on wind resource, final design, site-specific features, and equipment.

The commercial operation date depends on permitting, equipment deliveries, and other development activities. Glacier Ridge is targeting site construction to begin in November 2016, provided all preconstruction permits and approvals will have been obtained. Glacier Ridge anticipates and has requested with this filing issuance of the certificate in October 2016.

The U.S. Congress’ most recent extension of the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) projects that safe harbor equipment or initiation of construction in 2016 can lead to completion of the project by 2020 with retention of full value of the PTC. For this project to remain economically competitive in this timeframe, it is critical that the project qualify for the full 100% value of the PTC by initiating construction in 2016.

Glacier Ridge received a Conditional Use Permit from Barnes County for the project in March 2009. Update of this is occurring to reflect the final project layout.

Glacier Ridge said it will order all long-lead equipment for the proposed Project, including substation equipment, transformers, and wind turbines within a timeframe that supports scheduled commencement of operation in 2019. Glacier Ridge anticipates initiation of testing in November 2019, with commercial operation to begin in December 2019.

Definitive plans and schedules for addition or expansion have not been determined at this time. However, should the opportunity arise for expansion or addition to the proposed project, Glacier Ridge would take action to develop additional adjacent areas that have been deemed suitable for expansion.

Glacier Ridge will own the entire proposed project and, as a result, will manage construction of all equipment and associated facilities related to the project. RES Americas will likely perform the initial engineering and will serve as general contractor for construction of the project, although Glacier Ridge reserves the right to select a third-party engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor. Glacier Ridge will procure the turbine/tower equipment directly from a manufacturer.

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.