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The Nobles 2 wind project is a 250MW onshore windfarm being constructed approximately 18km north of Worthington, Nobles County, Minnesota, US.
Nobles 2 Power Partners, a joint venture between Tenaska and ALLETE, is developing the project. Tenaska is an independent energy company based in Nebraska, US, and ALLETE is an independent power producer based in Minnesota.
The project is backed by a long-term power purchase agreement signed in June 2017. Nobles 2 Power Partners secured all necessary regulatory approvals for the project by January 2019.
Construction on the $400m wind power project began in August 2019. Commissioning is expected in 2020. It is anticipated to create approximately 230 jobs during the peak construction phase and 15 permanent jobs during operations.
Nobles 2 location and site details
The Nobles 2 windfarm is being developed on a 17,210ha site on Buffalo Ridge in south-western Minnesota, which has high-quality wind resources.
The area encompasses the Leota, Wilmont, Bloom, Lismore, Larkin and Summit Lake townships in Nobles County.
Nobles 2 Power Partners applied to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for the site permit in October 2017 and secured clearance in January 2019.
Nobles 2 windfarm make-up
The windfarm will be equipped with a total of 74 wind turbines from Vestas, which includes at least ten Vestas V110-2.0MW model turbines with an 80m hub height. The remaining turbines will comprise either V136-3.6MW or V136-3.45MW turbines with an 82m hub height.
Other associated facilities include underground electrical collection and fibre optic communications lines, a project substation, interconnection switchyard, and an operations and maintenance (O&M) building, which will be built on a four-acre site to the west of the project substation.
The project also involves creating 34km of gravel access roads and six permanent meteorological towers.
Electricity generated by each turbine will be gathered and evacuated to the substation through two 34.5kV collector circuits.
The voltage will then be stepped up to 115kV at the substation for interconnection with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) regional transmission system. Interconnection with the grid will be achieved by tying into the existing Xcel Nobles-Fenton 115kV transmission line located close to the project substation.
Power purchase agreement
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE based in Duluth, Minnesota, will off-take the entire electricity generated by the Nobles 2 windfarm for 20 years, under a power purchase agreement (PPA) signed with the Nobles 2 Power Partners in June 2017.
The Nobles 2 wind project is part of Minnesota Power’s EnergyForward strategy, which aims to generate 44% of energy from renewable sources by 2025 and to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2030.
Financing for Nobles 2 wind project
Tenaska secured $158m in commercial financing for the Nobles 2 wind project in November 2019.
Debt financing for the project is being provided by a group of banks, including the Associated Bank, BNP Paribas, CoBank, Credit Agricole, and Helaba.
Mortenson is the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for the project.
Vestas will supply 74 wind turbines for and will also be responsible for providing maintenance services for the windfarm.
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