ST. PAUL – The Pleasant Valley wind project recently cleared a procedural hurdle that keeps on track for construction this year, despite significant delays.
The 301-megawatt development sites in Dodge and Mower counties was issued a site permit on Oct. 27, 2010, by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. However, the developers never began construction because delays in the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator’s interconnection process prevented it from obtaining a power purchase agreement, according to paperwork filed with the PUC.
Pleasant Valley filed a petition requesting a two-year extension to its site on Oct. 25, 2012, two days before the permit was set to expire. The PUC approved that request at its Jan. 24 hearing, and the written order was released Feb. 20.
“The Commission finds good cause to amend Pleasant Valley’s permit to extend by two years the deadlines for obtaining a power purchase agreement and beginning construction of the wind farm,” says the written order. “Pleasant Valley’s failure to execute a contract and begin construction within the two-year timeframe was due to circumstances beyond its control. Since there is no indication that extension would prejudice anyone’s interests, and since there is strong public interest in increasing Minnesota utilities’ use of renewable energy, it is reasonable to grant Pleasant Valley additional time to meet the contract and construction requirements of its site permit.”
Minnesota adopted an ambitious renewable energy standard in 2007 calling for 25 percent of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2025. As of early 2012, it had the fifth-most installed wind capacity in the country at 2,733, though projects in Goodhue and Fillmore counties have come under increased scrutiny in recent years as projects have been proposed increasingly closer to humans and wildlife.
Pleasant Valley would be the largest wind project in the state.
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