Minnesota Wind Farm Inks Utility PPA
Nobles 2 Power Partners has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc., to deliver 250 MW of energy from a wind project in southwest Minnesota.
Nobles 2 Power Partners – which was formed to build, own and operate the project – is an affiliate of independent energy company Tenaska, based in Omaha, Neb. The Nobles 2 project, currently in advanced development, is located near Wilmont in Nobles County.
The wind farm will interconnect to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator regional transmission system. Construction is expected to begin in the second half of 2018, and the project is expected to be operational in December 2019.
The Nobles 2 project will also complement Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy, which has the company on pace to deliver 44% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, and exceed the state of Minnesota’s renewable energy goals.
“Capturing this competitive wind resource will strengthen Minnesota Power’s growing renewable portfolio and add geographic diversity to our wind sector,” comments Julie Pierce, Minnesota Power’s vice president of strategy and planning. “Building this new relationship and a broader renewable energy mix will benefit Minnesota Power customers by adding more safe, clean and reliable power.”
The project is part of a wind development portfolio that Tenaska acquired last fall from Minneapolis-based developer PRC Wind, which is providing development support services for the project.
The facility will consist of up to 125 wind turbines, which are expected to be supplied by Vestas (along with maintenance services).
General Mills Signs Deal With RES
Global food company General Mills has signed up to purchase wind from the 150 MW Cactus Flats project, a wind farm being developed by Renewable Energy Systems (RES) in Concho County, Texas.
Under a 15-year agreement, the Minneapolis-based company – whose brands include Cheerios, Annie’s, Haagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury and more – will purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) for 100 MW of the project.
The RECs will enable General Mills to reduce its Scope 2 emissions as part of the company’s target of sustainable emission levels across its global value chain by 2050. Last year, General Mills says it reduced the greenhouse-gas emissions of its extended value chain by 2% versus 2015.
“As we help mitigate the impacts of climate change, investing in wind energy is the right thing to do,” comments John Church, executive vice president of supply chain at General Mills. “This investment is another step towards reducing our energy footprint and achieving sustainable emission levels – in line with scientific consensus – by 2050.”
General Mills says its investment will also help fund the construction of the wind farm, which is expected to create 250 jobs during the peak of its construction.
Roncevaux Cuts Ribbon In Quebec
Invenergy and its partners have cut the ribbon on the Roncevaux Wind Farm in Quebec, a 74.8 MW project comprising 34 GE 2.2-107 wind turbines.
The facility is located in the Gaspesie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine region in the regional county municipality of d’Avignon, approximately 500 kilometers northeast of Québec City. The project is a partnership among Invenergy, the Regie intermunicipale de l’energie Gaspesie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine, and Energie Eolienne Bas-Saint-Laurent S.E.N.C.
Energy output from Roncevaux has been purchased by Hydro-Quebec Distribution through a 25-year power purchase agreement. The project officially commenced operations last December.
“We’re excited to celebrate this milestone for Roncevaux together with our local community partners,” says Bryan Schueler, Invenergy’s executive vice president of project development. “This was a unique project for us with an aggressive timeline, but thanks to the strong partnerships with Regie intermunicipale de l’energie Gaspesie-Iles-de-la-Madeleine and Energie Eolienne Bas-Saint-Laurent, we were able to accomplish our goals for making Roncevaux operational shortly after we completed financing.”
Roncevaux will be staffed with six full-time positions. The project is located next to Invenergy’s existing Le Plateau, Le Plateau 2 and Des Moulins Phase 2 wind farms, which have a total installed capacity of 181 MW.
“Invenergy was our first private partner for the Gaspesie community wind farm and is our partner in the Alliance éolienne de l’Est, and I hope that we can continue our successful partnership in the future to export to the North American markets,” says Richard St-Laurent, chairman for the Régie.
Broadview Wind Now Operational
Pattern Energy Group Inc. has announced the grand opening of the 324 MW Broadview Wind power facility and 35-mile, 345 kV Western Interconnect transmission line.
Broadview Wind, located in Texas and New Mexico, is delivering clean energy to California via the associated, independent Western Interconnect transmission line and providing renewable power for up to 125,000 homes each year, says Pattern.
The wind farm comprises 141 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines with U.S.-made components, including turbine blades that were manufactured in Fort Madison, Iowa, and nacelles that were manufactured in Hutchinson, Kan.
To wheel the output from Broadview Wind to the California Independent System Operator system, where it is delivered to Southern California Edison (SCE), Broadview Wind has entered into long-term, firm, point-to-point transmission service agreements to move the output through the Western Interconnect, Public Service of New Mexico and Arizona Public Service transmission systems.
The project has two 20-year power purchase agreements with SCE for the sale of 100% of the output. The facility is limited to 297 MW of injection capacity at Broadview Wind’s transmission interconnection point.
According to Pattern, Broadview Wind provided jobs for more than 650 workers during peak construction activity and had an average of 350 workers on-site throughout the construction process. Now operational, the facility employs 18 full-time workers, half of whom are local residents.
In addition, says Pattern, Broadview Wind is expected to contribute more than $30 million to the local government and school system over 25 years. The project has also donated $320,000 to the local community, including a $150,000 donation to the Village of Grady, a separate $150,000 donation to the Village of Grady municipal school district and a $20,000 donation to the Broadview Fire Department.
“This innovative facility is generating inexpensive renewable energy in eastern New Mexico and delivering clean power into California – helping that state transition to a carbon-free, low-cost, renewable grid,” comments Mike Garland, president and CEO of Pattern. “We are especially excited to open this facility because it demonstrates the value of bringing wind power from where it’s created to where it’s needed. We see exciting development opportunities in this area of the country. Pattern Development is actively developing several significant opportunities in New Mexico and the Southwest U.S. as part of the region’s increasing demand for low-cost, renewable energy.”
Apex Opens Fort Hood Hybrid Energy Facility
Developer Apex Clean Energy is celebrating the final delivery of what it calls the U.S. Army’s largest renewable energy project, a hybrid wind and solar facility at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.
Drawing wind from the 50.4 MW Cotton Plains Wind project in Floyd County, Texas, and solar power from the on-base 15.4 MW AC Phantom Solar facility, the project will provide approximately half of the overall energy demands of Fort Hood, as well as save U.S. taxpayers $168 million over the 28-year life of the project, according to Apex.
The developer notes that Fort Hood is the largest active-duty armored post in the U.S. military; it has an annual economic impact to the Texas economy of over $35 billion. In addition, it directly employs over 60,000 people and indirectly impacts over 140,000 jobs, says Apex.
The deal structure for the project includes the creation of a new retail electric provider: ACE Power, a subsidiary of Apex, will deliver 100% of the energy required by Fort Hood through three substations. The design includes microgrid-ready capabilities.
Apex’s president and CEO, Mark Goodwin, joined senior military officers and civilians in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the project. Attendees included representatives of the Defense Logistics Agency Energy, the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives and the Fort Hood Directorate of Public Works.
“Clean and reliable renewable energy can help make our military bases stronger, more robust and more adaptable to the threats of a changing world,” said Goodwin. “The vision shown here will be increasingly recognized as other bases and branches of our military seek to replicate the economic performance and energy security provided by this project.”
The Honorable Richard G. Kidd IV, deputy secretary of the Army (strategic integration), spoke about the mission compatibility of the project: “This project will help sustain Fort Hood’s vital missions, assure access to an important resource supply, and bolster an already impressive portfolio of alternative and renewable energy projects in the Army.
“But most importantly, this project is a step towards energy security and resiliency, which underwrite the Army’s unique ability to rapidly deploy, employ and sustain military forces around the globe,” Kidd said.
Duke Celebrates Wind Farm Opening
More than 100 supporters recently attended a dedication ceremony for Duke Energy Renewables’ Frontier Wind Power Project, a 200 MW facility near Blackwell, Okla.
The project, situated in Kay County, became operational in late December. City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., is purchasing the power under a 22-year agreement.
State Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-District 38, who was the keynote speaker at the event, said, “Wind energy is progressive and beneficial to the economy of Oklahoma. I’m grateful to companies like Duke Energy Renewables that are unlocking the potential of this important resource to the benefit of our state.”
According to the developer, Frontier Wind produces enough emissions-free electricity to power about 60,000 average homes. Vestas supplied 61 V126-3.3 MW turbines with 126-meter rotors – representing the largest Vestas blades installed to date in the U.S., says Duke Energy Renewables.
“The support of community leaders, landowners, vendors and our customer, City Utilities of Springfield, made a project of this scale possible,” said Rob Caldwell, president of Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. “After celebrating the success of the Frontier project, we are exploring the potential of bringing more wind power to Oklahoma.”
“The partnership that we have developed with Frontier and Duke is one that has helped to secure the foundation for Springfield’s energy demands of the future,” said Scott Miller, general manager of City Utilities of Springfield. “Changes in power generation sources have been very quick, and we’re excited to be able to offer this level of renewable resource to our customers at the same time we retire some of our older generation sources.”
Duke Energy Renewables partnered with the Blackwell Industrial Authority for Frontier’s operations and maintenance building.
“Rarely does a project, by design, have a multigenerational economic impact on a region like Duke Energy Renewables’ Frontier wind farm,” said John Robertson, executive director of Blackwell Industrial Authority. “Blackwell, Okla., is fortunate to have been selected for their operations, assuring decades of high-tech jobs and investment in our rural location.”
Enel Signs Tax Equity Deal In Missouri
Enel Green Power North America Inc. (EGPNA), the U.S. renewable energy company of the Enel Group, has signed a tax equity agreement for the 300 MW Rock Creek wind farm in Missouri.
Rock Creek Wind Holdings LLC, which owns the project through special purpose vehicle Rock Creek Wind Project LLC, is fully owned by EGPNA.
The agreement with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan is worth approximately $365 million, which the investors will contribute in exchange for 100% of Class B equity interests in the project.
This interest will allow the two investors to obtain, under certain conditions set by U.S. tax laws, a percentage of the fiscal benefits of the project. In turn, EGPNA, through Rock Creek Holdings, will retain 100% ownership of the Class A interests and, therefore, management control of the project.
The agreement secures the funding commitment by the two investors, and the closing of the funding is expected to occur upon completion of construction and achievement of commercial operation of the project. The tax equity partnership will be supported by a parent company guarantee from Enel S.p.A.
The wind farm, whose construction started in October 2016, is expected to begin operations by the end of this year. Once fully operational, Rock Creek, which represents EGPNA’s first wind project in Missouri, will be able to generate around 1,250 GWh per year, providing enough energy to meet the annual consumption needs of more than 100,000 average U.S. households.
NextEra Breaks Ground On Repowered Project
NextEra Energy Resources and nonprofit public agency Sonoma Clean Power are celebrating the groundbreaking of the Golden Hills North Wind Energy Center, a repowered project located in Alameda County, Calif.
The Golden Hills North wind project is a complete repowering, which calls for the removal of 283 30-year-old wind turbines and replacing them with 20 2.3 MW GE turbines, capable of generating even more power with twice the efficiency of the previous wind project, says NextEra. An affiliate of NextEra owns and will operate the wind farm.
The project will have a generating capacity of 46 MW, enough to power more than 13,500 homes. As part of a 20-year power purchase agreement, the project will serve customers of Sonoma Clean Power with renewable energy. Sonoma serves residential and commercial customers in California’s Sonoma and Mendocino counties.
“Replacing some of the earliest wind technology with modern, efficient turbines and allowing an opportunity for a public utility like Sonoma Clean Power to invest directly in clean energy for its citizens helps both reduce the cost of electricity and the impact of facilities like this on our environment,” says California Energy Commissioner David Hochschild.
In an ongoing effort to advance California’s environmental preservation efforts, NextEra has contributed more than $1.7 million to date toward wildlife preservation and research and will contribute approximately $500,000 more once the Golden Hills North project is operational. The investment in research will help with the continual improvement of turbine-siting, as well as further studies on avian populations, the company says.
“We are very pleased to partner with Sonoma Clean Power on this wind energy repowering, which allows us to breathe new life into an old project, reduce the impact on the environment, and provide good jobs and meaningful economic benefits for the local economy,” adds Daryl Hart, director of development for NextEra.
The company notes that the project will create hundreds of union jobs in Alameda County during the construction phase, as well as full-time employment opportunities once it is operational at the end of this year.
Moreover, says NextEra, the project will provide more than $10 million in property tax benefits to the county over its projected 30-year operational life.
Alterra Inks Contract In Central Texas
Via a wholly owned project subsidiary, Vancouver, British Columbia-based Alterra Power Corp. has signed a new revenue contract for its 200 MW Flat Top wind project, located in central Texas.
The company signed a 13-year power hedge agreement with an affiliate of Citi. Alterra expects the financing and partnership arrangements for the project to be completed within the next few weeks, marking commencement of the project’s primary construction phase.
The wind farm is expected to achieve commercial operations in the first half of 2018. Vestas is supplying turbines and maintenance, and Blattner Energy is providing construction services.
Alterra manages eight power plants totaling 825 MW of hydro, wind, geothermal and solar generation capacity in Canada, the U.S. and Iceland. Alterra owns a 385 MW share of this capacity.