A look back at Apex’s initial plans for Montcalm County
Credit: By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | January 15, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc ~~
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A Virginia-based wind developer was originally planning to erect 104 turbines in Montcalm County and to construct a $10 million interconnection station in Bushnell Township, according to an agreement filed with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO).
Apex Clean Energy’s generation interconnection agreement (GIA) was approved as “Coral Wind I LLC” on May 3, 2021, with Little Rock, Arkansas-based MISO, an independent nonprofit organization responsible for operating the power grid across 15 U.S. states and the Canadian province of Manitoba.
Apex/Coral Wind first submitted its application to MISO’s generator interconnection queue on March 12, 2018, according to MISO.
The Daily News became aware of last year’s GIA after comments made by Ferris Township Trustee Dan Calverley during Tuesday’s township board meeting. (See accompanying story.)
The 131-page GIA (most of which is legal/technical language) can be read in full at cdn.misoenergy.org/METC-Coral%20Wind%20I%20GIA%20J1043%20SA%203654%20Public567541.pdf.
In response to questions, Apex’s Senior Development Manager Albert Jongewaard told the Daily News that information contained in last year’s GIA was based on information from Apex’s initial application in 2018, which he said is no longer current.
“A number of things have changed since that time,” Jongewaard said. “The information in the initial application is based on old data.”
According to last year’s GIA, Apex initially planned to erect 104 wind turbines in Montcalm County – 29 more than Apex’s currently stated plans for 75 turbines. Apex initially planned to use Denmark-based Vestas model V136 turbines rated at 3.6 MW each, according to the GIA.
Jongewaard told the Daily News that Apex continues to plan for 75 turbines “upwards of 500 feet each” in Montcalm County at 5 MW each for 375 MW of power and that Apex does not yet have a turbine model selected.
“We plan to use a different turbine model,” said Jongewaard, referring to the Vestas model cited in last year’s GIA. “We don’t have a turbine model chosen yet. We are still very intent on using a 5 MW or larger turbine. Traditionally we would use GE or Vestas or potentially Siemens Gamesa (a German turbine manufacturer).”
As an example of how things change during the development process, Jongewaard said Apex initially planned to use 2.5 MW turbines from Vestas that were 596 feet tall in Apex’s Isabella County project, but after conditional special land use permits were issued in that county, Apex switched to using 2.8 MW GE turbines that were about 15 feet shorter.
Also according to last year’s GIA, Apex planned to build an interconnection station in Bushnell Township, about 21 miles away from the Michigan Electric Transmission Co.’s Nelson Road station in Gratiot County. The cost for constructing the station and making network upgrades was estimated at more than $10 million, as follows:
• Construction of interconnection station: $7,596,934
• Extend Nelson Road-Vergennes line to loop in to interconnection station: $1,638,000
• transmission owner interconnection facilities: $490,648
• upgrade Nelson Road position relaying: $175,260
• upgrade Vergennes position relaying: $175,260
• TOTAL: $10,076,102
Jongewaard told the Daily News that Apex is no longer planning to build a station in Bushnell Township and that Apex has not yet chosen a township to locate its station.
“We are not in fact planning to connect in Bushnell Township,” he said. “There were some assumptions made early on, but as we started doing some more work … there’s a healthy bit of flexibility that we have as a developer. I don’t know the township where we may build.”
While plans in the GIA called for a $10 million station in Montcalm County, Jongewaard said Apex’s two sub stations in Isabella County cost between $12 million and $20 million.
“I think the station itself is going to be more expensive than that,” he said referring to the initial cost estimate of $10 million for the Montcalm County station.
The Daily News asked MISO what Apex paid to file its GIA. MISO said it cannot share that information publicly, but it provided the Daily News with information about the generator interconnection process with an explanation about financial requirements for each phase and milestone. According to MISO, the application fee is $5,000 (non-refundable), the definitive planning phase study funding deposit ranges from $50,000 to $640,000 depending on megawatt (with a partial refund available) and the definitive planning phase entry milestone cost is $4,000 (with a partial refund available).
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