Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015

B.C.’s Cape Scott
Officially Online

GDF SUEZ Canada Inc. and joint venture partners Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Fiera Axium Infrastructure Inc. have officially announced commercial operation of the 99 MW Cape Scott wind project in British Columbia.

Located about 40 km west of Port Hardy within the traditional territories of the Kwakiutl, Quatsino and Tlatlasikwala First Nations and outside of Cape Scott Provincial Park, the C$325 million wind project has the capacity to generate over 290 GWh of energy annually, says GDF. The project has a 20-year power purchase agreement with BC Hydro.

The developer adds that wind farm created more than 300 construction jobs during peak construction and 12 permanent operating and maintenance positions. Since the start of construction in summer 2011, GDF says the project infused more than C$51 million into the local economy.

With the addition of the Cape Scott Wind Project, GDF SUEZ Canada and partners Mitsui & Co. Ltd. and Fiera Axium Infrastructure currently operate 660 MW of wind-powered generation facilities in the Canadian Maritimes, Ontario, and British Columbia and have a growing solar portfolio. Cape Scott is the joint venture’s 10th wind installation in Canada.

 

Consultancy
Helps Secure PPA

RedWind Consulting notes that it recently helped the Campbell County Wind Farm, a 99 MW project being developed by Dakota Plains Energy in South Dakota, secure a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

The utility announced the PPA in late December 2013 following a request for proposals (RFP). RedWind Consulting says it managed the developer’s response to the RFP, the respective financial modeling and the wind turbine technical evaluation. The company is also currently conducting advisory services on behalf of the project. The wind farm is expected to be online by Dec. 31, 2015.

 

EDPR Obtains
Debt Financing

EDP Renewables (EDPR) has executed a project finance structure agreement for its first wind farm in Canada. The 30 MW South Branch project, located in Ontario, has secured a 20-year feed-in tariff awarded by the Ontario Power Authority.

The long-term contracted debt facility amounts to C$49 million, and the funding is expected to occur during the first quarter of this year. EDPR says its financing strategy is to contract long-term debt in local currency at competitive prices in order to mitigate the refinancing risk and to reduce the foreign exchange risk by having a natural hedge between revenues and costs.

With the successful execution of its first wind project in Canada, EDPR says its portfolio includes projects in 11 markets around the world, with the other 10 being the U.S., Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, Poland, Romania, the U.K., Italy and Brazil.

 

NPPD Finalizes
Broken Bow II PPA

The Nebraska Public Power District’s (NPPD) board of directors has approved a 25-year agreement with a Sempra U.S. Gas & Power affiliate to purchase the future renewable energy of the Broken Bow II wind farm, to be built in Custer County, Neb.

NPPD notes the 75 MW project has been in the works for awhile, but a new developer is at the table. In fall 2013, the successor developer to the company that originally worked with NPPD on the project sold Broken Bow II to Sempra. On Jan. 10, during its monthly meeting, NPPD’s board acknowledged and agreed to the transfer of NPPD’s original power purchase agreement (PPA) to Sempra.

NPPD says the project will bring it within 23 MW of its goal to generate 10% of its generation with new, renewable resources. The utility will purchase all of the facility’s output and then sell 60% of the energy to the Omaha Public Power District.

Construction of the meteorological towers for Broken Bow II began in January, and delivery of the 43 GE 1.7 MW turbines will begin in March, with final deliveries scheduled for July and August. NPPD says the project will employ about 300 workers during peak construction and begin commercial operation late this year.

 

Element To Build
In Missouri

Element Power says it plans to begin construction of the 200 MW Mill Creek Wind Farm in Holt County, Mo., sometime in the third quarter.

Kansas City Power & Light Co. recently signed a power purchase agreement for the project’s output, and once the facility is operational, Element Power says the wind farm will be the largest in the state of Missouri.

Element Power adds that it continues to work with local, state and federal entities on regulatory and environmental reviews. The project currently has approximately 25,000 acres under lease with over 100 landowner partners, and the company expects to achieve commercial operation by the end of December 2015.

According to Element Power, the Mill Creek Wind Farm will be an approximately $400 million investment in the state. The project is poised to provide approximately 300 jobs during construction, followed by 12 to 14 full-time jobs during operation, the company adds.

 

EDF Acquires
New Mexico Project

EDF Renewable Energy has acquired the Roosevelt wind project from Infinity Wind Power. Located in New Mexico, the up to 300 MW wind farm is expected to achieve commercial operation in December 2015.

The project encompasses approximately 62,000 acres of grazing farmland within Roosevelt County, roughly 18 miles southwest of Portales. Southwestern Public Service Co., a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, will buy the electricity generated by the 250 MW first phase of the project, pursuant to a 20-year, fixed-price power purchase agreement.

“The Roosevelt project will be the first wind facility constructed and owned by EDF Renewable Energy in New Mexico,” notes Ryan Pfaff, executive vice president at EDF Renewable Energy. “We are excited to add another dimension to our business activities in the state, where our operations and maintenance subsidiary, EDF Renewable Services, has been active since 2004.”

 

Muni Brings Online
N.S. Wind Farm

Bullfrog Power, a Canadian provider of green energy, has announced an agreement with Alternative Resource Energy Authority (AREA), a partnership between the Towns of Berwick and Mahone Bay, to source electricity from a proposed wind farm in Nova Scotia.

AREA has proposed the seven-turbine wind farm, located near Ellershouse, and hired Minas Energy to develop the project. Power generated by the wind farm will be delivered to the Towns of Berwick and Mahone Bay with the option of other municipal electric utilities to join in the future. Through the agreement with AREA, Bullfrog Power will purchase surplus renewable energy certificates generated by the project.

“Since Bullfrog Power launched in the Maritimes back in 2009, we have been actively seeking renewable energy development projects to partner with in Nova Scotia,” says Holly Bond, national sales director at Bullfrog Power. “Bullfrog is proud to be working with the municipalities of Berwick and Mahone Bay on this project to help increase the amount of clean power produced by and for Nova Scotians.”

Pending regulatory approvals, the project is expected to begin construction later this year.

 

Iberdrola Adding To
Mexican Wind Farm

Iberdrola has installed 11 additional turbines at its La Ventosa wind power complex in Mexico, increasing the project’s capacity by 22 MW and taking it up to 102 MW.

The 2 MW Gamesa G80 wind turbines stand 78 meters tall. The project, executed by Iberdrola’s engineering and construction subsidiary, also entailed the upgrade of the wind farm’s grid connection and the 230 kV transmission line owned by the Federal Commission for Electricity. Gamesa says the extension helped create an average of 250 construction jobs.

The La Ventosa wind farm is located in the municipality of Juchitan de Zaragoza (Oaxaca), on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. When commissioned back in 2009, it became Iberdrola’s first wind farm in Mexico. The company says it currently operates 230 MW of wind power capacity in Mexico. In addition to La Ventosa, the company has two other wind farms in operation: the 102 MW La Venta III and 26 MW Bii Nee Stipa.

 

Alstom Selected For
Texas Project

Alstom has signed a deal with Tri Global Energy LLC to supply four ECO110 and 25 ECO122 wind turbines and provide 10 years of service and maintenance for the 80 MW Fiber Winds Energy project, located near Lorenzo and Ralls, Texas.

Following a financial closing, construction of the project is expected to begin midyear, with commercial operations scheduled to commence in 2015. Tri Global Energy recently acquired 100% ownership of Fiber Winds Energy and intends to be the plant operator.

“During the first 30 years following the commencement of commercial operations, Fiber Winds Energy is expected to pay $39 million in wind royalties to local landowners and community investors,” says John B. Billingsley, CEO of Tri Global Energy. “It is also projected to pay $15 million in local school, county and hospital ad valorem taxes during this same period.”

The companies note that this agreement, achieved prior to Dec. 31, 2013, allows Fiber Winds Energy to meet the “safe harbor” provision for the production tax credit.

 

Transmission Line
Delivers Renewables

The One Nevada Transmission Line (ON Line) is now operational and transmitting up to 600 MW of electricity, including energy from renewable resources throughout Nevada.

The 231-mile line integrates Nevada’s grids and is viewed as the transmission backbone that brings renewable energy from northern Nevada to the major load areas, including Las Vegas. ON Line is carrying renewable energy from seven geothermal projects, two solar projects, one large wind farm and a small landfill gas-to-energy project.

ON Line was developed by LS Power Associates. NV Energy provided construction services and serves as operator and purchaser of the line’s transmission capacity. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) provided a $343 million loan guarantee for the project.

“Through a successful public-private partnership, the One Nevada Transmission Line is an important step in our efforts to modernize the nation’s transmission infrastructure and increase the safety, reliability and security of our electricity grid as we move toward a clean, low-carbon future,” says Peter Davidson, executive director of the LPO.

 

Kan. Generators
Provide Feedback

Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC, an affiliate of Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners, says a recent request for information (RFI) issued to wind generators has shown there are high-quality wind resources in and around western Kansas. According to the developer, its overhead, direct current transmission project could help the state realize its full wind power potential.

The company says the data from the RFI shows wind developers in the western Kansas region are developing projects with the capability to produce over 13.5 GW. These projects demonstrate the need for new transmission capacity to access areas with a strong demand for renewable power, the company adds, noting the 13.5 GW of proposed projects represent more than three times the 3.5 GW delivery capacity of the Grain Belt Express.

While pricing details will not be made public, Grain Belt says the proposed costs of energy submitted through the RFI were in line with other wind energy power purchase agreements recently signed in this region.

Grain Belt Express is a public utility in Kansas and Indiana and received an order from the Kansas Corporation Commission in November 2013, granting a siting permit to construct the 370-mile Kansas portion of the line.

 

Starwood Invests
In Wind Farm

Starwood Energy Group Global LLC, a Connecticut-based private investment firm focused on energy infrastructure, has completed agreements to finance and construct its first wind farm, a 211 MW project 45 miles south of Lubbock, Texas.

The Stephens Ranch project, which represents the first of two phases that will total 377 MW, will use GE 1.7-100 turbines and be built by Wanzek Construction, with completion scheduled for late this year.

Affiliates of GE Energy Financial Services, Banco Santander and Citi have committed to invest tax equity in the project, and affiliates of Starwood Energy Group have committed 100% of the cash equity. Santander Bank NA and Citi are also providing a non-recourse construction debt facility (including a letters of credit facility) totaling approximately $265 million. Additional financial details were not disclosed.

“For our first wind investment, we are pleased to have assembled a strong team of very experienced lenders, tax equity investors and contractors,” says Himanshu Saxena, managing director of Starwood Energy Group. “We look forward to working together with the local communities to make this project a success.”

An investment affiliate of Starwood Energy Group acquired Stephens Ranch in August 2013 from Mesa Power, an entity owned by T. Boone Pickens.

“This transaction enabled us to combine our Texas wind energy investing expertise with the skills of our tax equity partners, Santander and Citi, to support Starwood Energy on this wind farm, a well-structured project using proven technology,” comments Kevin Walsh, managing director and head of power and renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services.

 

Geronimo Acquires
Mainstream Project

Minnesota-based Geronimo Energy has announced the acquisition of the up-to-225 MW Green River wind farm from Ireland-based Mainstream Renewable Power. Located in Illinois, the project is adjacent to Geronimo’s 210 MW Walnut Ridge wind farm, which the company says is at the advanced stages of development.

Immediately following the acquisition, Geronimo says it took steps to qualify Green River under the production tax credit (PTC), which expired Dec. 31, 2013. Although the PTC was allowed to expire at the end of 2013, Green River will still be eligible to receive tax credits under the PTC for upwards of 10 years. Geronimo took the same steps for Green River’s sister farm, Walnut Ridge.

Mainstream began working on Green River in 2009, with the acquisition of two transmission queue positions from FPC Services Inc. It encompasses 13,500 acres of land located approximately two hours southwest of Chicago. Geronimo says the area is primarily flat agriculture land that boasts tremendously competitive wind speeds for the Illinois PJM market.

“This acquisition benefits all interested parties,” says Blake Nixon, president of Geronimo Energy. “It gives Geronimo flexibility and scalability when speaking with power purchasers – and it means the local communities have one point of contact, which keeps communication very simple. We feel that having two projects side by side in such a desirable market as Illinois strengthens the prospects for both developments.”

 

Service Provider
Surpasses Milestone

Power Climber Wind, a division of SafeWorks LLC, says it has provided over 1,000 nacelle davits to 18 different wind plants across North America.

According to the company, in an effort to reduce potential technician fatigue and injury from manually carrying tools from the wind turbines’ yaw deck to the nacelle, an unidentified customer reached out to Power Climber Wind in search of a solution. The two engineering teams collaborated to design and build the nacelle davit.

Power Climber says the nacelle davit features a 250-lb capacity and optional chain or electric hoist; complies with federal, local and state material handling codes; has the ability to retrofit to any 1.5 MW gearbox; and installs in just under an hour.

“The nacelle davit that we customized specifically for these 1.5 MW turbines has provided a safer material transfer solution, increasing the customer’s overall productivity,” says Mike Russell, Power Climber Wind’s national sales director.

 

Siemens Lands
Dudgeon Contract

Statoil has awarded two contracts to Siemens for the engineering, supply, assembly, commissioning and service of 67 turbines for the Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm project, located off the coast of England. The estimated value for both contracts is about $848 million.

Statoil says the first batch of the 6 MW wind turbines will be ready for load-out and installation in January 2017. The service contract will cover operations and maintenance of the turbines through the first two years after installation is completed, followed by three years during which Siemens will provide Dudgeon with technicians and other agreed services.

Statoil says the execution of the Dudgeon project is subject to a final investment decision in the third quarter of this year. Nonetheless, Siri Espedal Kindem, the company’s renewable energy senior vice president, states that this is a significant milestone for the project and its owners.

“The new turbine contract will secure planned progress in the Dudgeon project toward full operation during 2017,” says Kindem. “Technology development is fundamental to optimizing offshore wind industry costs and solutions, and the use of new large turbines such as these is a main contributor to reducing offshore wind costs.”

The Dudgeon project is Statoil’s second full-scale commercial offshore wind project: Following a successful partnership in developing the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of North Norfolk, Statoil and Statkraft are working together to develop Dudgeon.

 

ACCIONA Inks
Brazil Contract

ACCIONA Windpower has signed a contract to supply 31 3-MW turbines for Brazilian wind farms that are jointly owned by Voltalia, CHESF and Encalso.

The 93 MW deal comprises AW125/3000 and AW116/3000 machines, which the company says have the largest swept area designed by AWP and are mounted on 120-meter-high concrete towers. The agreement also covers the supply and installation of the turbines in the field and the operations and maintenance of the site for a period of 15 years.

ACCIONA says this is its fourth contract signed in Brazil, where it has already supplied – or has orders for – 423 MW, all with 3 MW wind turbines. w

Projects & Contracts

B.C.’s Cape Scott Officially Online

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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