Minnesota PUC seeks input on apps for 200-MW Red Pine Wind Project

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Sept. 26 went out for comment on applications from Red Pine Wind Project LLC for a Certificate of Need (CON) and Large Wind Energy Conversion System Site Permit for the 200.1 MW Red Pine Wind Project in Lincoln County, Minn.

The initial comment period closes Oct. 10, and the reply comment period closes Oct. 17. Questions that commenters will need to address are:

  • Whether the certificate of need application is complete under Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7849?
  • Should the commission find the site permit application complete under Minnesota Rules, Chapter 7854?
  • Are there contested issues of fact with respect to the representations made in the applications?
  • Should the applications be referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings for a contested case proceeding?
  • Should the applications be processed jointly, i.e., joint information meetings and public hearings?

On Sept. 16, Red Pine Wind Project filed a petition for a Certificate of Need and the application for a Site Permit for an up to 200.1-MW wind project in Lincoln County. The project would entail construction of 58 to 100 wind turbines, associated facilities, four meteorological towers, access roads, and an operations and maintenance building.

The project is intended to provide Minnesota and the surrounding region with renewable energy eligible to satisfy renewable energy requirements in Minnesota and surrounding states. Red Pine said iut is engaged in discussions with multiple potential power offtakers and is evaluating options to proceed with construction of the project in either 2017 or 2018 (commercial operation date of December 2017 or December 2018, respectively). Finalizing an offtake arrangement and plans for qualifying for the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) ultimately will determine the construction timeline.

Red Pine is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF Renewable Energy Inc. (EDF-RE).

The project will be located in southwestern Minnesota in Lincoln County in Ash Lake, Lake Stay, Limestone, Marble, and Royal townships, near the communities of Ivanhoe and Arco, Minnesota. The landscape is rural with limited development or housing, and the project will be situated on agricultural land. The project area contains approximately 42,000 acres, of which approximately 30,597 acres are currently under agreement with Red Pine. While Red Pine said it is working to secure additional wind rights in the area, the land currently under contract is sufficient to support the project.

Red Pine anticipates constructing up to 100 wind turbines with a maximum total nameplate net capacity of 200.1 MW. Red Pine has not made a final wind turbine selection, but is currently considering Vestas V100, V117, and V126 turbines. The electricity generated by the project will be offered for sale to wholesale customers, including Minnesota utilities that forecast a need for additional renewable energy to comply with the Minnesota Renewable Energy Standard (RES), the CO2-reducing federal Clean Power Plan, utility resource plan commitments or other renewable requirements.

There will be a project substation. Red Pine also proposes to construct an approximately two-mile, 345-kV gen-tie transmission line to Xcel Energy’s Hawks Nest Lake substation, with the point of interconnect at the 345-kV Brookings County-Hampton MVP line. Red Pine said it intends to begin the application process for the Gen Tie Line CON soon.

The Midcontinent ISO (MISO) has conditionally accepted a Generator Interconnection Agreement with Red Pine Wind Project.

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.