United States

United States

Midwest co-op builds two projects -- Green pricing oversubscribed

Great River Energy, a Minnesota generation and transmission co-operative, is upping its wind output from 2 MW to 27 MW in two projects for a green marketing program.

Great River has signed a long term power purchase agreement for the entire output of a 21 MW wind farm on Buffalo Ridge, being developed by American/Danish company enXco and Project Resources Corporation of Minnesota. The $21 million project is expected to be complete by the end of the year, says Kandace Olsen of Great River Energy.

"EnXco came to us with a very good deal," Olsen says. "The cost is extremely competitive with other generation." The developers have not yet chosen a turbine manufacturer; a nearby project by enXco for Xcel Energy will use Enron 1.5 MW turbines. While there continue to be transmission problems in the Buffalo Ridge area, Olsen says that Xcel Energy's Chanarambie substation, the interconnection point for this project, still has room for about 130 MW more wind generation.

Great River is also adding 4 MW to the existing 2 MW at its Chandler Hills wind farm due to the success of its oversubscribed green pricing program, Wellspring Wind Energy. For a premium, that program gives the utility's customers the choice to buy wind energy in 100 kWh blocks. "We don't feel the market for green energy is saturated at all," Olsen says. "Right now, we're marketing only to residential customers and have yet to begin marketing to commercial customers. There is plenty of room for growth."

More wind could be on the way as the utility reviews proposals received as a result of a February 200-300 MW solicitation for more resources from any generating source between 2002 and 2005. Olsen expects the utility to announce a short list of projects this month. The minimum size requested is 50 MW.

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