No electrical generation projects of any kind, renewable or non-renewable, can be connected to the power transmission grid without an interconnection agreement from the system operator. In the upper Midwest, the system operator is the Midwest ISO ("MISO").
In order to get an interconnection agreement, developers must first place a candidate project in an "interconnection queue," and wait while the system operator completes a series of studies to estimate: a) the impact of the many queued projects on the power lines, and b) the cost of any new lines and other upgrades that will be required before any new projects can be put on line. The costs of these studies are paid by the developer and typically amount to several hundred thousand dollars.
The queue process is also very time consuming, taking as much as two to three years to complete. If it is found that new transmission is required, the timeline for interconnection can even be a decade or more.
Tim Simons, CEO of Crownbutte Wind Power Inc. commented, "Obtaining this Interconnection Agreement is a major milestone for Crownbutte’s Gascoyne I project, and means that construction can begin as soon as project financing has been obtained."
Established in 1999, Crownbutte Wind Power, Inc., (www.crownbutte.com) is a North Dakota based developer of merchant wind power parks, with a current pipeline of over 640 MW of projects in various stages of development across North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana. Crownbutte has strategically sized these projects to fit into the existing power grid so as to require only minimal transmission system upgrades, and therefore expects to be able to begin construction and operation much sooner than would be the case for larger projects requiring new transmission.