State board OKs tax break for North Bend Wind

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Wind Turbine

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — A wind project proposed in central South Dakota has received approval for a state sales-tax refund, months before state regulators are set to decide whether the project can go ahead.

North Bend Wind wants to erect up to 71 wind turbines in eastern Hughes and western Hand counties to generate up to 200 megawatts of electricity.

The state Public Utilities Commission set a procedural schedule earlier this month and plans the evidentiary hearing February 2-4, 2022.

The state Board of Economic Development on Wednesday considered the project’s application for a reinvestment payment. Following a closed-door discussion, the board granted the application.

The project, if permitted and built, will get a refund of up to 50% of the state sales and use tax on its eligible costs, up to $5,104,023.64.

It was the largest of the 11 that the board has approved so far this year. Those potential refunds total $10,747,576.89.

The Legislature in 2013 approved the reinvestment payment program for a new or expanded facility that exceeds $20 million or for equipment upgrades that exceed $2 million.

Those laws give the state Board of Economic Development authority to decide whether to approve up to a 100% refund of state sales and use tax. The board must consider whether the project would have happened in South Dakota without the reinvestment payment.

North Bend Wind is a wholly owned subsidiary of ENGIE North America, Inc., according to the permit application to the PUC.

The Houston, Texas-based corporation currently has two projects operating in South Dakota. They are Dakota Range III Wind in Grant and Roberts counties and Triple H Wind in Hyde County. The Triple H Wind Project is located immediately east of the proposed North Bend project.

The board previously approved reinvestment payments for Dakota Range III and Triple H.

State records show that the board has approved more than $144 million of reinvestment payments since the program began. By comparison, the board approved more than $373 million of low-interest loans to projects during the same nine-year period.

During the reinvestment program’s first six years, through the end of Governor Dennis Daugaard’s time in office, the state board approved more than $89 million in potential reinvestment payments to a variety of projects. There were three approvals in 2013, nine in 2014, two in 2015, three in 2016, eight in 2017, and 17 in 2018. Ten of the 44 approved were for wind energy.

Since the 2019 start of Governor Kristi Noem’s first term, the board has approved $52,720,197 in potential reinvestment payments to a variety of projects. There were seven approvals in 2019, 17 in 2020, and 11 so far in 2021. Ten of the 35 approved were wind-energy projects.

Here are the wind projects that have received board approval for reinvestment payments.

B&H Wind, in Hutchinson, Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties, up to $2,900,000, approved March 11, 2014.

Campbell County Wind Farm, in Campbell County, up to $3,883,683, approved May 13, 2014.

Day County Wind II, in Day County, up to $4,419,600, approved August 12, 2014.

POET Biorefining, up to $78,500, approved November 14, 2017.

Prevailing Wind Park, in Bon Homme, Charles Mix and Hutchinson counties, up to $4,329,410, approved June 12, 2018; later expanded to $6,372,072 on September 11, 2018.

Willow Creek Wind Power, in Butte County, up to $3,800,250, approved June 12, 2018.

Crocker Wind Farm, in Clark County, up to $7,875,000, approved July 10, 2018.

Phillip Wind Partners, in Haakon County, up to $6,000,000, approved October 24, 2018.

Coyote Ridge Wind, in Brookings County, up to $3,703,613, approved December 11, 2018.

Deuel Harvest Wind Energy, in Deuel County, up to $9,236,588x, approved December 11, 2018.

Tatanka Ridge Wind, in Deuel County, up to $2,966,507, approved December 11, 2019.

Triple H Wind, in Hyde County, up to $4,828,058, approved December 11, 2019.

Crowned Ridge Wind, in Codington and Grant counties, up to $4,234,777, approved January 15, 2020.

Dakota Range III, in Grant and Roberts counties, up to $4,777,730, approved January 15, 2020.

EnviroFarm SD1, in Walworth County, up to $941,962, approved January 15, 2020.

Sweetland Wind Farm, in Hand County, up to $3,523,343, approved January 15, 2020.

Wessington Springs Wind, in Jerauld County, up to $841,192, approved January 15, 2020.

Crowned Ridge II, in Codington, Deuel and Grant counties, up to $3,977,193, approved May 13, 2020.

Meridian Wind Project, in Jerauld County, up to $3,115,708, approved August 12, 2020.

North Bend Wind, in Hyde and Hughes counties, up to $5,104,023.64, approved November 10, 2021.

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