ALLETE Bringing Wind Farm To North Dakota
ALLETE Clean Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of ALLETE Inc., is further highlighting the 100 MW wind farm it plans to build in North Dakota as part of Xcel Energy’s newly announced plans to bring more wind energy to the upper Midwest.
Under development since 2011, the Clean Energy 1 project, located north of Glen Ullin in Morton and Mercer counties, has been permitted by the North Dakota Public Service Commission and has landowner agreements in place. Construction and completion of the project are expected to take place in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
ALLETE Clean Energy and Xcel Energy have signed a 20-year power purchase agreement, which is still subject to regulatory approval.
To qualify for federal renewable energy production tax credits (PTCs), the project may use a share of wind turbines ALLETE Clean Energy purchased in 2016 in order to meet safe harbor standards. The $100 million investment in safe harbor turbines allows the company to pursue its three-pronged PTC strategy, which includes building and operating new wind farms based on long-term PPAs, building wind farms for other companies for a development fee or a sale price, and refurbishing its existing wind farms while extending PPAs.
ALLETE Clean Energy also has PPAs with Xcel Energy through its Chanarambie/Viking and Lake Benton wind farms in Minnesota.
When Clean Energy 1 is complete, ALLETE Clean Energy will own and operate roughly 640 MW of wind generation capacity in five states.
DONG To De-Commission Offshore Landmark
After more than 25 years of operation, DONG Energy has decided to retire Vindeby, the world’s first offshore wind farm.
Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm, consisting of 11 wind turbines, was connected to the grid in 1991. The Danish wind project is situated close to shore in the low waters off Vindeby near Lolland.
Even though the wind farm is being decommissioned – and the turbines are small compared with current standards – the project has been of “vital importance” to the offshore wind industry, according to Leif Winther, who is responsible for DONG Energy’s Danish offshore wind farms.
“Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm is almost miniature-size in comparison with the giant projects which are now being realized in northern Europe,” he says. “But without the experience gained from the world’s first offshore wind farm, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It’s fair to say that Vindeby is the cradle of the offshore wind industry and that this is where the industry was born.”
During its entire lifetime, Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm produced 243 GWh of power; this corresponds to what seven of the largest offshore wind turbines today can produce in a single year, says DONG Energy. The turbines for Vindeby were supplied by Bonus Energi – now Siemens Wind Power – and the foundations were produced by MT Højgaard.
DONG Energy says Vindeby also covered the annual power consumption of around 2,200 households. In comparison, DONG Energy’s future offshore wind farm off the east coast of England – Hornsea Project One, which, when ready for commissioning in a few years, will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm – will be able to supply green energy to approximately 1 million households, the developer says.
Furthermore, the offshore wind turbines at Vindeby are located 1.5 kilometers to 3 kilometers offshore. Today, offshore wind turbines are typically located much farther away from shore. In addition, when the wind turbines at Vindeby were installed in 1991, they were lifted into place in one piece, but when decommissioning begins, the blades, nacelle and tower will be dismantled and taken down individually by a mobile crane on board a jack-up vessel. The concrete foundations will be broken down on-site, mainly by hydraulic demolition shears, and collected afterward, DONG Energy says.
All turbine components and foundations will be sent onshore to Nyborg Harbour, where the components will be reused as much as possible as spare parts for other wind turbines. Some of the blades will become part of a research project at DTU Risø, and others will be reused in a noise-barrier concept. One wind turbine will also become part of the exhibition at “Energimuseet” (the Danish Museum of Energy). Components that are not immediately reusable will be transported to a certified recovery company.
“Vindeby Offshore Wind Farm has played a decisive role in scaling up the technology and reducing the costs to a level that makes offshore wind attractive to many countries facing replacement of end-of-life coal-fired power plants with new green energy sources,” adds Winther.
Xcel Energy’s Big Midwestern Plans
Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy has rolled out a proposal to add seven wind farms in the upper Midwest. Totaling 1,500 MW of wind energy and increasing the utility’s upper Midwest wind fleet by 60%, the projects would be situated in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.
Xcel Energy is proposing a combination of owned projects and power purchase agreements; in total, these represent more than $2.5 billion in capital investments. The company says it is taking advantage of federal production tax credits to secure lower prices.
Advances in turbine technology, improved wind forecasting and an expanded transmission system are expected to play a role in the ability to build the new wind farms, the utility adds.
“We’re significantly increasing the amount of wind generation on our system – in part due to the recent completion of Midwest transmission projects that connect wind-rich areas to our customers,” explains Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota.
Over their expected life spans, the proposed wind farms are projected to generate nearly $200 million in property taxes and $150 million in landowner payments. In addition, the projects, when operational, are estimated to create approximately 1,500 construction jobs and about 80 full-time jobs.
“This investment in renewable energy keeps bills low for customers while giving them the clean energy they want and helping us achieve 63 percent carbon-free energy by 2030,” adds Clark. “Wind energy is at historically low prices right now, so we’re able to reduce emissions while securing long-term cost savings for our customers.”
Proposed in October of last year, the 750 MW of self-build projects are the following:
- Freeborn Wind Energy, a 200 MW, Invenergy-developed project located in Freeborn County, Minn., and Worth and Mitchell counties, Iowa;
- Foxtail Wind, a 150 MW wind farm located in Dickey County, N.D., and developed by NextEra Energy Resources;
- Blazing Star 1, a 200 MW project located in Lincoln County, Minn., and developed by Geronimo Energy; and
- Blazing Star 2, a 200 MW wind project located in Lincoln County, Minn., and developed by Geronimo Energy.
The 800 MW of newly proposed projects are the following:
- Crowned Ridge Wind Project, a 300 MW build-own-transfer project and a 300 MW power purchase agreement. The wind farm will be located in Codington, Deuel and Grant counties, S.D., and developed by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy;
- Lake Benton Wind Project, a 100 MW build-own-transfer project in Pipestone County, Minn., and developed by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy; and
- Clean Energy 1, a 100 MW power purchase agreement project in Morton and Mercer counties, N.D., and developed by ALLETE Clean Energy.
All projects are subject to state and local regulatory approval. If accepted, they will be in service by 2020, says Xcel Energy.