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Tenaska buys 470 MW of wind projects in Minnesota, North Dakota


Tenaska has acquired three wind energy projects in Minnesota and North Dakota totaling 470 MW from PRC Wind as the Nebraska independent power producer continues to respond to a changing market.

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The privately owned Omaha-based company added 270 MW of wind energy in Minnesota and 200 MW of wind energy in North Dakota through the deal, Tenaska spokeswoman Delette Olberg said in an email Wednesday. She declined to disclose the exact locations of the mid-stage projects, saying that information is considered confidential for now.

PRC has agreed to provide support services to Tenaska through completion of local development activities. Tenaska will assume overall development responsibility, as well as financing, construction and operations, and plans to use its inventory of "safe harbor" wind turbines to achieve full production tax credit qualification.

Tenaska also did not reveal how much it paid Minneapolis-based PRC for the projects or when they will be in commercial operation.

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"These wind projects are located in regions with both good wind resources and a growing need for renewables," Joel Link, Tenaska vice president of development, said in a statement.

Greg Kelly, Tenaska president of development, told Platts in an email Wednesday that the PRC purchase is further evidence his company "continues to evolve as market needs change."

For much of its 30-year history, Tenaska primarily developed, owned and operated fossil-fuel generation, particularly natural gas.

Kelly said fossil-fuel plant development remains an important part of Tenaska's energy strategy, as evidenced by the recent groundbreaking for its 925 MW Tenaska Westmoreland combined-cycle gas-fired plant near Smithton in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. It is scheduled for completion in 2018.

But, referring to the PRC transaction, Kelly added it made sense for Tenaska "to strategically expand its renewable assets with these wind development projects at this time."

Tenaska and its affiliates have developed about 10,000 MW of gas-fired and renewable generation and currently manage operations for about 7,000 MW of power generation, comprising nine plants.

The company also has about 450 MW of large-scale and distributed solar projects in operation or under construction. And, individual employees of Tenaska have an investment in Elkhorn Ridge Wind LLC, an 81 MW wind generation facility in northeast Nebraska.

On September 20, Tenaska's second-largest solar project, the 150 MW Tenaska Imperial Solar Energy Center West, went into commercial operation near Seeley in southern California.

PRC has developed more than 1,800 MW of operating wind capacity since its formation in 1997.

--Bob Matyi,
--Edited by Valarie Jackson,