Regulators set decommissioning bond for PrairieWinds and plan hearing for North Bend

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Wind Turbine

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has accepted the plan for someday taking down one wind farm and also set the schedule for deciding whether to approve another.

The regulators agreed to a stipulation between staff and Basin Electric Power Cooperative calling for Basin to post a $15.1 million bond as the estimated cost for eventually removing the rural power provider’s PrairieWinds SD1 project in the Crow Lake area of Jerauld, Aurora and Brule counties. The commission approved the project in 2010.

The commission’s chairman, Chris Nelson, removed himself from the proceeding due to a potential conflict of interest. The governor appointed state School and Public Lands Commissioner Ryan Brunner as his replacement on the matter.

Commissioner Kristie Fiegen praised the regulatory staff for holding firm on the amount. The stipulation calls for Basin to submit an updated removal plan by June 1, 2026, and then every five years after.

The commission also approved a procedural schedule for the North Bend Wind Project proposed in Hyde and Hughes counties. The evidentiary hearing is set for February 2-4, 2022. Chairman Nelson thanked the commission’s staff for “ramrodding” the question of the schedule.

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