Developer now wants to drop its application for second wind-electricity project in Hyde County

Capitol News Bureau
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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State regulators have been asked to let Meridian Wind Project withdraw an application for a $220 million complex in central South Dakota.

The state Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to consider the request Tuesday, January 19. The facility was planned across 15,043 acres in the Hyde County townships of Van Order, Eagle, Chapelle, Highmore and Holabird, about 3 miles southeast of the county seat at Highmore.

Brett Koenecke, a Pierre lawyer for the project, contacted the commission January 7 seeking the withdrawal. He wrote:

“(T)he Project has been made aware of substantial and unexpected interconnection costs which would be applied to it by the system operator. Those costs would be prohibitive and could not be supported by the Project therefore the Applicant has elected to withdraw the queue position for the Project. Moving forward with the Project will take time, consideration and deliberation to evaluate the feasibility.”

KELOLAND News has asked for further explanation.

France-based ENGIE originally planned Meridian as a 74-turbine facility with a capacity of 175 megawatts. The scope later changed to 64 turbine locations, according to a June 10, 2020, presentation. The company’s North America arm is based in Santa Barbara, California.

Electricity from Meridian was to flow to the power grid at the Chappelle Creek substation about nine miles west that Basin Electric recently constructed for the Triple H wind project that the commission permitted in 2019.

Meridian would have shared the Triple H operation and maintenance facility. ENGIE developed Triple H. The projects would have been side by side, Meridian to the east and Triple H to the west, along S.D. 47.

Casey Willis, an ENGIE official, said in testimony filed with the April 23 application that Meridian at the time was still looking for a customer to contract for the power.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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