Project Development, Wind Power

GreenHunter Wins Auction for WCI Transmission Line Capacity

GreenHunter Wind Energy LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GreenHunter Energy Inc. announced that it has won new power transmission capacity on the soon to be built Wyoming-Colorado Intertie (WCI) power transmission line through an auction. The WCI power transmission line will be the first transmission line built in this region of the U.S. in more than five years.

The WCI line has an expected in-service date of 2013, according to The Wyoming Infrastructure Authority. A section of the line will run within 15 miles of GreenHunter Wind Energy’s Wheatland Wind project, which is located on approximately 20,000 acres of federal BLM land situated near the town of Wheatland, Wyoming. The Wheatland Wind project has the potential to have up to 600 megawatts (MW) in wind generation capacity.

“We believe our recent success in the Wyoming-Colorado Intertie power transmission auction is a real coup for GreenHunter Wind Energy. By winning the capacity on a planned transmission line of this magnitude, we believe we have added significant value to our proposed 20,000 Wheatland, Wyoming wind development project,” said Stephen Wiley, president of GreenHunter Renewable Power. “This auction and the ensuing contract we have entered into is essentially a reservation to transmit power on the WCI power transmission line into a market that we believe shows very promising demand for renewable power.”

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Wyoming has the potential to generate up to 747 billion kilowatt-hours of wind energy per year. This figure puts the state at number seven on the list of the top twenty states ranked by wind energy generation potential.

GreenHunter announced in July that had it had acquired the project, from Wind Revolutions LLC. GreenHunter Wind Energy owns 65% of the project and the Southern Ute Growth Fund owns 35% of the project.

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said that the WCI line will be important for wind energy development in Wyoming and called it proof that wind can be the majority of financing for a transmission project.

“With up to 850 megawatts (MW) of transmission capacity available through the public auction, two wind developers secured capacity to transmit 585 MW of electricity from projects being developed in the Wyoming plains,” said Robert Gramlich, policy director at AWEA. “With wind developers subscribing for nearly 70% of the transmission offered, this announcement is proof that transmission can be financed based largely on wind. This effort to pro-actively plan transmission to access low-cost wind resources with federal and state government cooperation is a model for other areas. Expanding transmission capacity is one of the major challenges facing America’s electric industry.”