Ruso Wind Partners seeks approval for 10-mile, 230-kV line in North Dakota

Ruso Wind Partners, LLC, (RWP) in a Jan. 4 application for a certificate of corridor compatibility and route permit filed with the North Dakota Public Service Commission, said that it is proposing an approximately 10-mile, 230-kV transmission line in Ward and McHenry counties in North Dakota as part of the Ruso Wind Project, which would generate up to 205 MW of electricity and result in the construction of up to 66 turbines.

The transmission project includes the new, approximately 3.5-acre Ruso Wind switching station. RWP also said it has submitted a separate application for a certificate of site compatibility for the proposed wind project.

RWP said that it has not executed a power purchase agreement (PPA) to date, adding that the transmission project would interconnect to the grid via the Ruso Wind switching station, being built at the eastern terminus of the line. The switching station would be built in Section 5, Township 151 N, Range 80 in McHenry County. RWP also said that the switching station would be owned and operated by Great River Energy upon completion.

The line would connect the Ruso Wind collection substation in Section 7, Township 151 N, Range 81 W, with the Ruso Wind switching station. RWP also said that the transmission project corridor includes all or part of 22 sections of agricultural land in north-central North Dakota, near the towns of Benedict and Ruso. RWP noted that it holds wind energy leases and/or transmission easement agreements with about 65 landowner partners; the leased area provides sufficient acreage to build the proposed transmission project.

The line would include a combination of wood and galvanized steel structures, as well as a combination of direct embed and concrete drilled pier foundations. RWP added that the permanent right of way (ROW) for the project would be up to 150 feet wide and additional temporary workspace would be needed during construction. The line would be built with about 91 pole structures, RWP said, noting that the average above-ground height of the structures would range from 75 feet to 120 feet.

Of land use matters, RWP said, for instance, that Brillian Township in Ward County has retained zoning authority. The portion of the transmission project corridor within that township is zoned as an agricultural district, RWP said, adding that while the township requires a conditional use permit for new utilities, it does not specify setback requirements. Coordination with Brillian Township is ongoing, RWP noted.

The transmission project is not anticipated to result in a trend toward modification of existing land use patterns, RWP said, adding that coordination with Ward and McHenry counties, as well as Brillian Township, is ongoing. All necessary county and township land use permits would be obtained prior to construction of the transmission project; permit applications for the project were submitted to Ward and McHenry counties and Brillian Township on Dec. 28, 2018, RWP said. Conflicts with the existing development plans of state, local, or private entities within the transmission project corridor are not anticipated, as the project generally avoids developed areas, RWP said.

Discussing the transmission project schedule, RWP said that it anticipates the certificate and route permit would be issued by the commission in 3Q19, with project construction anticipated to begin in 3Q19, and to be completed by the end of 2020. Project testing would be completed prior to commercial operations near the end of 2020, RWP said, adding that it plans to have the transmission project commercially operational by the end of 2020.

The estimated total cost to build the transmission project is about $5m to $7m, RWP said.

As noted in the application, RWP is a wholly owned subsidiary of Southern Power (NYSE:SO).

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at corinar@pennwell.com.