NextEra applies in North Dakota 150 MW wind power project approval

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Brady Wind II, a unit of NextEra Energy Resources, on Jan. 22 applied with the North Dakota Public Service Commission for a Certificate of Site Compatibility to construct the 150 MW Brady II Wind Energy Center.

All project facilities are proposed to be located in Hettinger County, North Dakota, with the exception of collection lines, which will also be placed in southern Stark County.

The proposed project will have a nameplate capacity of about 150 MW, consisting of up to 72 wind turbines using both General Electric 2.1 MW and GE 1.79 MW Xle wind turbine generators. Additional facilities proposed include access roads, electrical collection systems and cabling, and meteorological towers (four temporary and one permanent).

This proposed project is to be located adjacent to the southern boundary of the proposed Brady Wind Energy Center. An application for a Certificate of Site Compatibility for the Brady Wind Energy Center is currently under consideration by the North Dakota PSC.

The proposed second project will use the temporary laydown and turbine storage areas identified for the Brady Wind Energy Center during construction, and the operations & maintenance building proposed for the Brady Wind Energy Center will be shared with the second project.

Substation equipment to support the proposed project will be located within the same 8-acre parcel where the Brady Wind Energy Center substation is proposed to be located. The overhead transmission line proposed to serve the Brady Wind Energy Center will also serve the proposed project.

Impacts associated with the overhead transmission line were described in a separate Certificate of Corridor Compatibility and Route Permit application, which was submitted to the PSC in December 2015 separately from the application for the Brady Wind Energy Center project.

NextEra, through its affiliates, develops renewable projects throughout the United States and Canada. NextEra is the largest generator of wind-powered electricity in North America, with nearly 11,300 MW of capacity in 19 states and Canada as of December 2014. In North Dakota specifically, NextEra, through its affiliates, owns and operates 851 MW of wind generation and operates an additional 139 MW.

The proposed second project will have a nameplate (gross) capacity of approximately 150 MW. Assuming a net capacity factor of 52.4 percent, the projected average annual output is estimated at 688,536 MW hours per year.

The commercial operation date is dependent upon permitting, equipment deliveries, and other development activities. Brady Wind II is targeting site construction to begin in July 2016 provided all pre-construction permits and approvals have been obtained. Brady Wind II requested that this certificate be issued by July 1, 2016.

Brady Wind II plans to submit an application for a Conditional Use Permit to Hettinger County for operation of the wind energy facility in February 2016, and anticipates approval of that permit in March 2016. Stark County permitting is not required for the proposed project, because only underground collection lines will be placed in Stark County.

Brady Wind II has ordered all long-lead equipment for the proposed project, including substation equipment, and transformers, and has a purchase order in place with GE for the wind turbines. Brady Wind II anticipates commercial operation to occur in December 2016.

The North Dakota PSC on March 2 plans two public hearings, back to back, in the town of Dickinson on the December 2015 applications from Brady Wind related to the 150 MW Brady Wind Energy Center, to consist of up to 87 wind turbine generators and associated facilities in Stark County. Brady Wind also filed applications for a certificate of corridor compatibility and a route permit concerning the location for about 19 miles of 230-kV electric transmission line and associated facilities in Stark County.

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