Calpine subsidiary seeks approval in New York of wind energy facility

Bluestone Wind, LLC on Feb. 20 filed with the New York State Public Service Commission a petition for an order granting a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) in relation to Bluestone Wind’s proposed wind energy facility in the towns of Sanford and Windsor, Broome County.

As noted in the filing, Bluestone Wind – a wholly owned subsidiary of Calpine Corporation – in September 2018 submitted an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need (CECPN) from the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment (siting board) to build the facility.

Based on the siting board’s order in a separate proceeding, the commission holds that “issuance of a PSL Article 10 certificate supplants the requirement for construction approval under PSL §68, but not the requirements for commission approval of its corporate formation and the exercise of any municipal ‘right, privilege or franchise.’”

Accordingly, Bluestone Wind added, in anticipation of the siting board’s issuance of a CECPN in September, including the condition that Bluestone Wind obtain a CPCN from the commission, Bluestone Wind is filing the petition requesting that the commission issue the CPCN, as well as an order finding that Bluestone Wind, as a wholesale electric market participant, is entitled to a lightened regulatory regime.

While the siting board has not yet issued a CECPN for the Bluestone Wind Project, Bluestone Wind requests that the Feb. 20 petition be considered concurrently with the Article 10 proceeding in order to avoid unnecessary delays that could result if, alternatively, both proceedings were to be considered consecutively.

Bluestone Wind added that it must receive its CPCN at the same time it receives its CECPN, or at the commission’s next monthly session after issuance of the CECPN, to ensure that it can begin construction by Nov. 1. Road construction and tree clearing must begin by Nov. 1 so that the project can be completed and begin commercial operation by Dec. 31, 2020. Bluestone Wind also said that if the project does not enter commercial operation by that date, then it would lose its production tax credit, thereby jeopardizing its economic viability.

Describing the project, Bluestone Wind said that the wind energy facility would consist of up to 33 wind turbines with a maximum capacity of up to 124 MW. The facility would also include access roads, a collection substation, a point of interconnection (POI) substation, an operation and maintenance (O&M) building, permanent meteorological towers, as well as other ancillary facilities and equipment.

Bluestone Wind added that electricity from the wind turbines would be collected via underground lines and transmitted to a new collection substation, which would be located near a new POI substation that is situated next to an existing transmission substation owned by New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG). The POI substation would connect to NYSEG’s existing Afton to Stilesville 115-kV transmission line in Sanford. Bluestone Wind added that ownership and control of the POI substation would be turned over to NYSEG once construction is complete.

Bluestone Wind noted that the commission’s review is primarily concerned with Bluestone Wind’s ability to build and operate the facility. Bluestone Wind said that it has sufficient financial resources to build the project, as well as significant expertise to operate it, and that, accordingly, issuance of a certificate is in the public interest.

Since Bluestone Wind will operate the project as a competitive wholesale generator, the commission order should find – as has been done for numerous generators operating under similar circumstances – that Bluestone Wind is entitled to a lightened regulatory regime, Bluestone Wind said.

Bluestone Wind further requested that the commission waive the general requirement in PSL §68 that the commission hold a hearing in the proceeding consistent with the commission’s approach to Section 68 reviews in other CPCN proceedings involving wind projects. Among other things, Bluestone Wind said that the record established in the Article 10 proceeding obviates the need for an additional hearing on the CPCN, particularly given the limited scope of the commission’s review.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3235 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 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 clinares@endeavorb2b.com.