NextEra makes changes in 150-MW Mt. Storm wind project in West Virginia

Mt. Storm Wind Force LLC on Aug. 15 asked the West Virginia Public Service Commission for a decision that some changes, including a smaller size for its wind project (new size is 150 MW), are not material and do not require modification of the siting certificate for the facility or, in the alternative, for modification of the siting certificate.

Mt. Storm requested that the commission waive any unfulfilled notice or other filing requirements, if any, and enter an order granting the requested relief not later than Dec. 31, 2016.

The revised project is expected to have a total generation capacity of 150 MW, which is 100 MW less than the total generation capacity authorized for the original project.

When it was formed in 2001, Mt. Storm was wholly owned by US Wind Force LLC. At a later time, a 5% ownership interest in Mt. Storm was acquired by Edison Mission Mid-Atlantic Inc. (EMMA). In May 2013, the respective interests in Mt. Storm held by US Wind Force and EMMA were acquired by Laurel Renewable Partners LLC (LRP). In April 2015, LRP transferred its membership interests in Mt. Storm to a wholly-owned subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC.

A certificate was issued to Mt. Storm by the commission in 2002. The certificate does not set any time limit for commencement of construction or operations. LRP had previously indicated that economic conditions, equipment selection issues, the diversion of resources to other projects, and the availability of suitable power purchase arrangements were among the key causes of delay. Since that time, Mt. Storm has worked diligently to prepare the new version of the project.

On Jan. 25 of this year, the Defense Logistics Agency issued a Notice of Intent to award a renewable energy supply agreement (more commonly known as a power purchase agreement) to NEER. The commencement of construction of Mt. Storm is dependent upon a successfully negotiated contract under this award. In connection with this award, the U.S. Department of the Navy in 2016 commenced an Environmental Assessment of the revised version of the project. That process is currently underway.

The revised project will occupy a smaller portion of the same general areas of Grant and Tucker counties as the original project. The original plan had 166 wind turbine generators (WTGs). There are 77 WTGs (including five alternate WTG sites) proposed in the revised project. The currently proposed array consists of 23 WTGs (and one alternate WTG site) in an area slightly north and east of Bayard, West Virginia, and 49 WTGs (and four alternate WTG sites) in an area just south of Bayard.

Turbine technology has evolved since the certificate was granted in 2002, and Mt. Storm now proposes to erect up to 72 WTGs, 65 of which will be General Electric 2.1-MW units and seven of which will be GE 1.79-MW units, for a total generating capacity of approximately 150 MW. To compensate for the reduction in generation capacity associated with the reduced turbine count, the WTGs now proposed are somewhat taller. The GE 2.1 MW units will have a maximum hub height of 94 meters (308 feet) and a maximum rotor diameter of 116 meters (381 feet), for a maximum total height of 152 meters (499 feet). The GE 1.79 MW units will have a maximum hub height of 80 meters (262 feet) and a maximum rotor diameter of 100 meters (328 feet), for a total height of 130 meters (426 feet).

A project contact is: Mt. Storm Wind Force LLC c/o NextEra Energy Resources LLC, 700 Universal Boulevard FEW/JB, Juno Beach, Florida 33408, Attention: Jeremy L. Ferrell, (561) 694-6238 (office), Jeremy.Ferrell@NEE.com.

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.