Wind Spirit Project Strategic Consulting
Grasslands Renewable Energy is developing a transmission system to access geographically diverse renewable energy across Montana and the northern Great Plains. The Wind Spirit Project will collect nearly 3,000 MW of renewable energy proposed in Montana, an area that is transmission constrained, for transport to markets in the southwest. In addition, this project will include a 300-400 MW pumped storage hydro project that will be used to integrate this large amount of wind energy into the grid. Our role as owner's engineer for the transmission and pumped storage initiatives was to provide consulting expertise for transmission interconnection feasibility, initial facility design feasibility, facility cost estimates and risk analysis.
A business case analyzed the costs, revenues, risks and public benefits and its alternatives, such as AC versus DC and lines serving different markets. The analysis developed a risk register and quantified the potential cost, schedule and escalation risks. Public benefits were quantified for competition (energy diversity), grid congestion and grid reliability.
Our approach was to assist Grasslands in building a transmission development strategy that included wind developers and local utilities in the joint planning process, along with several entities who have been involved with the conceptual design of the transmission scenarios.