Project Development, Utility Scale, Wind Power

Minnesota Utility RFP Looks for Local Projects

Great River Energy is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for a total of 120 MW of renewable resources, 20 MW of which calls for Community-Based Energy Development (C-BED) proposals. Depending on cost-competitiveness, up to 120 MW in this RFP could be met with C-BED projects.

A statement from Great River Energy said the plans are contingent upon the extension of the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) “throughout this period,” sufficient transmission availability, an unconstrained market for wind turbines and skilled labor, and the receipt of C-BED bids that meet the organization’s cost and reliability requirements. In July, Great River Energy became the first Minnesota utility to announce its commitment to meet the 10 percent Minnesota Renewable Energy Objective (REO) by 2015. “As Great River Energy works to meet the state’s Renewable Energy Objective, we expect to need about 500 MW of new renewable energy resources including what we will have online once the Trimont Area Wind Farm is operational later this year,” said Jon Brekke, Great River Energy vice president, member services. “We expect to reach that total with a series of 100 MW RFPs over a period of years. We envision including a meaningful C-BED component in each of those RFPs.” To qualify as a C-BED project, the wind project’s owner must be a Minnesota resident of the county or a limited liability corporation whose members are Minnesota residents of the county where the wind project will be located. Minnesota nonprofits or cooperatives organized specifically to develop community-based wind energy also may qualify. An owner can hire a developer to build the project. In addition, Minnesota legislation established a special tariff designed to facilitate the development of community-based wind projects. In 1997, Great River Energy and its member cooperatives developed the first voluntary green-pricing program for wind energy in the region. The Wellspring Renewable Wind Energy program provides co-op members with the opportunity to purchase all or part of their electric needs from renewable energy. By the end of 2005, Great River Energy and its member cooperatives will begin taking power from the first locally developed, utility-scale wind energy project in the country — the 100 MW Trimont Area Wind Farm in southwestern Minnesota. “The Trimont project emerged from our RFP process. In a previous RFP for renewables, we included a preference for projects located within our member co-ops’ service areas and owned by local farmers and landowners,” Brekke said. A copy of the RFP for renewable energy is available on Great River Energy’s website: www.greatriverenergy.com or by contacting Stan Selander by phone: (763) 241-2446 or e-mail: [email protected] Responses to the RFP are due Friday, December 9, 2005. A nonbinding Notice of Intent to Respond is due on Friday, November 11, 2005.