Flying Cow Wind, LLC (FCW) on Sept. 27 filed an application with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission for a facility permit in order to build the collection lines, project substation, and transmission line – referred to as the project – in support of the Bitter Root Wind Project.
FCW is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roaring Fork Wind, LLC, which is the joint venture formed by subsidiaries of its affiliate Renewable Energy Systems Americas (RES) and Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Vestas). FCW was formed for the purpose of developing and operating the project as well as the Bitter Root Wind Project, the filing added.
The Bitter Root Transmission Line and Substation Project consists of:
- An underground electric collection cabling system with six circuits of about 200 linear feet each – the collection lines
- A substation with a 34.5-kV to 345-kV step-up transformer – project substation
- About 10.42 miles of 345-kV overhead transmission line that would connect the wind project to the planned point of interconnection (POI) located at a planned Otter Tail Power substation to be built in Deuel County, S.D.
Discussing the proposed route, FCW said that from the project substation at the north end of the project, the proposed route heads south along the west side of 488th Avenue for about 0.97 miles, crosses 190th Street and continues south across farm fields for about one mile.
The route then crosses County Road 517 (191st Street) and turns west on the south side of County Road 517. The project heads west and crosses Fish Lake Drive, parallel to County Road 517 for about 1.4 miles, where it turns northwest/west route around a residence about 0.43 miles, FCW added.
The project continues to the west on the south side of County Road 517 for about 1.6 miles and crosses 485th and 484th Avenues. FCW also said that the proposed route then turns south and parallels the west side of 484th Avenue for about 0.5 miles where it turns west and follows a section line in an agricultural field, crossing 483rd Avenue, for about 1.98 miles until reaching 482nd Avenue.
The project then turns south on the east side of 482nd Avenue for about 0.4 miles and crosses to the west side of 482nd Avenue. FCW added that the project then continues south about 1.01 miles, crossing 192nd Street, to the north side of 193rd Street. At that point, the proposed route turns west and follows the north side of 193rd Street for about 0.26 miles, where it turns south, crosses 193rd Street, and continues for about 0.45 miles. The proposed route turns west and continues for about 0.33 miles where it terminates at the POI.
FCW also noted that it would develop, design, permit, and build the project, anticipating the commencement of construction in 2Q20, with an anticipated in-service and commercial operation date in 3Q20, pending related permitting and approvals. The POI would be at the Astoria substation, which is a substation to be built in Deuel County in connection with the Astoria station, a proposed gas generation plant to be located about 1.5 miles northwest of Astoria, S.D. The Astoria station and associated Astoria substation are projects of Otter Tail Power, FCW added, noting that the Astoria station is anticipated to be built from spring 2019 through early 2021, and operational by spring 2021.
Otter Tail Power is in the process of obtaining the necessary permits and approvals for the four-ring bus at the Astoria substation that would allow the project to be interconnected to the Astoria substation. Interconnection at the Astoria substation would allow FCW to inject energy from the wind project to the existing, newly built Big Stone South to Brookings County (BSSBC) 345-kV high voltage transmission line, which was placed into service last September, FCW added.
The Bitter Root Wind Project entered the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) interconnection queue in February 2016 and has a queue number of J493. FCW also said that MISO has selected the POI for the project/Bitter Root Wind Project, balancing the needs of the interconnection system as a whole and of other applicants, including Otter Tail Power. Additional interconnection details will be determined as a part of the final interconnection agreement with MISO, as well as agreements with, and between, FCW, MISO, and Otter Tail Power, the transmission owner, FCW said.
The wind project is a proposed large wind energy conversion system (LWECS) of up to 152 MW with all proposed wind turbines and associated facilities to be located in Yellow Medicine County, Minn., east of the project.
The Bitter Root Wind Project is in the Minnesota certificate of need and site permitting processes, FCW added, noting that it submitted an application for a certificate of need (CON) for a LWECS for the wind project to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission last October. FCW said that it also submitted a site permit application (SPA) to the Minnesota commission last November, with the commission expected to issue decisions on the requested CON and SPA by the end of 2018.
FCW said that it would develop, design, permit, and build the project and the wind project, noting that it acquired the Bitter Root Wind Project in 2016, and reinitiated landowner agreements, environmental studies, and other development activities. While initially anticipated to achieve commercial operation in 2019, based on the projected timing of completion of the Astoria station and Astoria substation, FCW now anticipates beginning construction in 2Q20, with an anticipated in-service and commercial operation date (COD) in 3Q20, pending related approvals.
FCW also said that it estimates the construction costs for the project would be $19.85m, which includes the construction costs for the collection lines, project substation, and transmission line ($15m). FCW said that it is also responsible for a portion of the costs to build the Astoria substation because of the additional equipment to facilitate interconnection of the project. FCW said that its portion of the construction costs for the Astoria substation would be about $4.85m; accordingly, the total construction costs associated with the project would be $19.85m.