New Line Aims To
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), MidAmerican Transmission LLC, and Citizens Energy Corp. have been chosen by the California Independent System Operator Corp. to develop, own and operate a new 230 kV transmission line in the Central Valley region of California.
According to PG&E, the transmission line will span about 70 miles across Fresno, Madera and Kings counties, running from the Gates to Gregg substations, which are owned and operated by PG&E. The utility says the new line will help reduce the number and duration of power outages and bolster efforts to integrate renewable energy onto the grid.
“Today’s energy infrastructure is adapting to meet the demands for greater renewable sources, while continuing the reliable service to customers,” adds John Cupparo, president of MidAmerican Transmission. “This collaboration with PG&E and Citizens Energy is evidence of MidAmerican Transmission’s continued investment to ensure that California’s energy infrastructure keeps pace with these evolving demands.”
The transmission line would be operational no later than 2022 and could come online earlier, PG&E notes.
PG&E reports that the project needs to undergo an approval process through the California Public Utilities Commission. PG&E, MidAmerican Transmission and Citizens Energy will work collaboratively with local stakeholders to determine the optimal routing of the line as part of the approval process.
Quebec Wind Farm
Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. and the Riviere-du-Loup Regional County Municipality (RCM) have commissioned the 24.6 MW Viger-Denonville wind farm in Quebec.
Developed by Parc eolien communautaire Viger-Denonville, a joint venture owned 50/50 by Innergex and the RCM, the wind farm comprises 12 REpower wind turbines and is located entirely on private lands in the Quebec municipalities of Saint-Paul-de-la-Croix and Saint-Epiphane. Borea Construction began building the project in the spring and completed it in November.
All of the wind project’s output is covered by a 20-year fixed-price power purchase agreement with Hydro-Quebec obtained under that province’s 2009 request for proposals.
Sky Harvest Sells
Sky Harvest Energy Corp. has sold its interest in assets relating to its Sky Harvest Project, located in southwestern Saskatchewan, to an unnamed buyer.
Sky Harvest simply says the purchaser is “a major Canadian wind power development company,” and the deal includes leasehold interests in approximately 15,000 acres of land, accumulated wind data, environmental assessment studies and a meteorological tower. William Iny, Sky Harvest president and CEO, says the site has the potential to host a 150 MW wind farm.
According to Sky Harvest, the buyer has agreed to pay a purchase price in three installments comprising a fixed payment payable upon execution of a power purchase agreement (PPA), a first success fee based upon the number of megawatts contracted under the PPA and payable upon financial close, and a second success fee also based on contracted megawatts and payable upon the commencement of commercial operations.
The agreement further provides that if the purchaser is unable to execute a PPA respecting the project by Dec. 19, 2019, it will return the assets to Sky Harvest for nominal consideration.
Sky Harvest says it will remain involved in the project, providing development services as it aids the purchaser in liaising with landowners and communities within Saskatchewan, as well as revising lease agreements.
Sky Harvest says it will retain its interests in the Keewatin and Matador sites in southwestern Saskatchewan, which it will continue to develop.
NPPD Sells RECs
To Tech Firm
Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) has entered an agreement to sell wind-generated renewable energy credits (RECs) to Becton, Dickinson and Co. (BD), a medical technology company, for 20 years.
Through a previously established power purchase agreement, NPPD is buying all the output and associated RECs from NextEra Energy Resources’ 75 MW Steele Flats Wind Farm. The project, located between Steele City and Odell, Neb., came online earlier this month.
Headquartered in Franklin Lakes, N.J., BD is the first industrial customer to receive the benefit of the output from a wind farm operating in Nebraska, NPPD says. The agreement enables BD to utilize 30 MW of generation from the wind farm to offset electricity use from its manufacturing facilities in Columbus and Holdrege, Neb., and is an important milestone for the company’s worldwide sustainability program.
According to NPPD, BD has already met four out of five of its 2015 Sustainability Goals, including a target to source 25% of its global electricity use from renewable energy. This agreement will further increase BD’s global renewable energy consumption, which is currently 35%.
“This opportunity with BD was a unique situation where an industrial customer of our wholesale customers was seeking the opportunity to meet its sustainability goals,” says NPPD President and CEO Pat Pope. “Through many discussions and negotiations, we were able to get BD what they were seeking for their Nebraska operations and their sustainability goal, while at the same time, adding to our energy portfolio and moving us closer to our board-established goal for renewable energy.”
With the addition of the Steele Flats Wind Farm, coupled with the planned Broken Bow II Wind Farm to be completed by the end of 2014, NPPD says it will be within 45 MW of its target of having 10% of its energy resources come from renewable energy.
Final Third Sold
At Okla. Farm
Apex Clean Energy has sold the remaining 100 MW of its 300 MW Balko Wind project, located in Beaver County, Okla.
Through its subsidiary Balko Wind LLC, Apex entered the 100 MW renewable energy purchase agreement with the Western Farmers Electric Cooperative (WFEC). In December, Public Service Co. of Oklahoma signed up for the project’s other 200 MW. Apex expects the wind farm to come online in 2015.
“Wind is an important part of WFEC’s diverse mix of generation, and plays an integral part in our overall commitment to renewable energy, as well as enabling the ability to reduce fossil fuel emissions,” comments WFEC CEO Gary Roulet.
300 MW Contract
ACCIONA Windpower, the wind turbine manufacturing subsidiary of ACCIONA Group, has signed a contract to supply 100 of its AW 116/3000 3-MW turbines for two unidentified projects in Texas. The 300 MW agreement totals more than $400 million and also covers the operation and maintenance over 10 years.
The turbines, with a rotor diameter of 116 meters, will be installed on 92-meter steel towers. Deliveries will begin in 2014, and the two wind farms are expected to be fully operational in 2015.
ACCIONA Windpower notes that this contract means the company has now supplied or signed contracts for 1.5 MW and 3 MW turbines totaling over 1.2 GW in the U.S.
Enel Begins Building
Mexican Wind Farm
Enel Green Power has begun construction of its 102 MW Sureste I-Phase II wind farm. The plant, which is located in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, will comprise 34 wind turbines with a capacity of 3 MW each.
According to Enel, project construction will require a total investment of approximately $160 million. Last June, a company subsidiary signed a $100 million loan with the BBVA Bancomer Group, and part of the loan will be used to build the new plant.
Enel says it expects the new wind farm to enter service in the second half of 2014. Currently, the company has about 144 MW of installed wind capacity in Mexico.
Co-op Signs PPAs
For N.D. Projects
The Basin Electric Power Cooperative has signed two power purchase agreements (PPAs) with Infinity Wind Power for wind projects to be developed in North Dakota. The combined capacity is 278 MW.
Infinity will be developing the 106 MW Sunflower project in Morton County and the 172 MW Antelope Hills project in Mercer County. The wind farms are planned to be operational by the end of 2015.
Andrew M. Serri, Basin Electric CEO and general manager, explains that the deals are a result of a June request for proposals. According to Serri, the new wind generation will increase Basin’s renewables portfolio to more than 1 GW.
ALLETE To Acquire
Wind Farm Portfolio
ALLETE Clean Energy, a subsidiary of ALLETE Inc., has signed an acquisition agreement to purchase wind farms in Minnesota, Iowa and Oregon from The AES Corp. in early 2014. In addition, the two companies have signed an option agreement for ALLETE to acquire a fourth wind farm in Pennsylvania in mid-2015.
Under the acquisition agreement, ALLETE Clean Energy would acquire AES’ position in operating wind energy projects in Lake Benton, Minn.; Storm Lake, Iowa; and Condon, Ore., with a total output of 231 MW for $27 million. All three wind farms to be acquired have power purchase agreements (PPAs) in place for their entire electric output.
Pursuant to the option agreement, ALLETE Clean Energy will have an option to acquire the 101 MW Armenia Mountain, Pa., wind farm. That project became operational in 2009 and has two long-term PPAs in place.
“This acquisition is right in line with our strategy of growing energy-centric earnings streams that expand our customer base and complement our traditional utility operations,” says Alan R. Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE. According to Hodnik, “By 2015, ALLETE and its business subsidiaries may have nearly 850 MW of installed wind generation.”
The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in early 2014. Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor to ALLETE Clean Energy for the transaction. w
Projects & Contracts
New Line Aims To Include Renewables
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