Minnesota PUC to review Red Pine Wind app at Nov. 21 meeting

On the agenda for the Nov. 21 meeting of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission is the Sept. 16 application from Red Pine Wind Farm LLC for a site permit on a 200.1-MW wind project.

A commission staff memo filed Nov. 15 said the questions to be answered at the Nov. 21 meeting are:

  • Should the commission accept the site permit application as substantially complete?
  • What procedural process should the commission authorize for evaluation of the site permit application?
  • Should the commission vary the time limits of its rules that relate to application completeness and draft permit issuance

Red Pine Wind Farm’s project would be comprised of 58 to 100 wind turbines ranging from 2.0 MW to 3.45 MW in size, with associated facilities that include a project substation, an electrical collection system, an operations & maintenance facility, permanent meteorological towers, access roads, and a laydown yard. At the time of application, the proposed project footprint would occupy approximately 42,000 acres of land located in Ash Lake, Lake Stay, Limestone, Marble and Royal townships in Lincoln County, Minnesota.

Red Pine is an independent power producer based in Edina, Minnesota, that is owned by EDF Renewable Energy Inc. (EDF-RE). EDF-RE is the U.S. subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles.

Red Pine has an executed Generator Interconnection Agreement for the project with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and intends to interconnect it to the 345-kV Brookings County-Hampton transmission line at the Hawks Nest Lake Substation.

The Minnesota commission on Nov. 3 agreed to drop Red Pine Wind’s Sept. 16 companion application for a Certificate of Need (CON) for this same project. Red Pine Wind said in the Oct. 17 withdraw request that since filing the CON application, it has finalized power offtake plans for the project, and now qualifies for a CON exemption.

Said the Oct. 17 Red Pine request: "Because project financing parties and tax equity investors look for stable power prices in making their financing decisions, Red Pine has negotiated a long-term hedge agreement with a large, investment grade financial institution. The electricity produced by the Project will be sold in the competitive MISO marketplace at market-based rates, and MISO will use this energy to fulfill its obligations to MISO market participants. MISO provides an open, liquid competitive market for wholesale sales of electricity."

It added in that Oct. 17 filing: "As a result of finalizing offtake arrangements, Red Pine has also revised the anticipated project schedule to target beginning construction in the second quarter of 2017 and achieving commercial operation by December 31, 2017. In order to achieve this timeline, Red Pine has dropped plans to build a 2 mile, 345 kV transmission line to interconnect the project to the grid and instead has moved the planned location of the Project substation to be adjacent to the point of interconnection."

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.