North Bend hearing pushed back indefinitely

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre Capitol building legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The evidentiary hearing for a proposed wind-generation electricity project in central South Dakota has been delayed.

The state Public Utilities Commission decided Tuesday to grant the request sought by North Bend Wind, a 71-turbine development planned in eastern Hughes and western Hyde counties.

The commission had planned to hold the hearing February 2-4, 2022. The commission directed the sides to develop a new schedule and bring it back for consideration at the commission’s December 8 meeting.

Attorney Brett Koenecke of Pierre asked for the delay. Commission staff attorney Amanda Reiss and an attorney representing a group of intervenors including Judi and Michael Bollweg of Highmore said they didn’t oppose it.

Koenecke said he’s now aiming for “hopefully April.” Reiss told the commissioners that the staff doesn’t want the decision left hanging indefinitely: “We just didn’t want a year-long extension.”

Chairman Chris Nelson said the 2019 Legislature approved allowing the commission to extend the deadline for reaching a decision on a wind project application past the standard nine months.

Koenecke was in those negotiations. “Thankfully, we’ve got it there,” Nelson said.

The vote was 3-0 for the delay.

Commissioner Kristie Fiegen said it’s hard to find three days. “Although April may be hopeful, it may be difficult,” Fiegen said.

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