State regulators permit wind farm in Deuel County with restrictions

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Deuel County

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — State regulators decided Tuesday they would allow another wind farm in northeastern South Dakota.

But the state Public Utilities Commission’s three members added restrictions that reached farther than the developers wanted for the project in Deuel County.

The commissioners said Deuel Harvest North can’t have turbines within two miles of Lake Alice unless the county ordinance changes.

Another permit condition says no blade or any other part of a tower can be within 2,000 feet of a private airstrip.

That means at least two sites planned for turbines need to be changed, according to Lisa Agrimonti, a Minneapolis-based lawyer representing the project.

The commission also placed other additional restrictions on the $400 million project.

The moves came after testimony from several intervenors who remain opposed to it.

Agrimonti filed a letter last week with the commission regarding the Deuel County Board of Adjustment’s unanimous decision to grant a special exception permit.

The letter said the vote included two people serving as temporary replacements for members. The original board had also voted unanimously amid allegations that some had conflicts of interest.

The project’s cost is estimated at $400 million and as proposed would have 112 turbines. The commission held a four-day hearing in April.

Agrimonti also represented Prevailing Wind Park being built between the communities of Avon, Tripp and Wagner. She agreed Tuesday the 61-turbine project would pay a $30,000 civil penalty for starting construction this spring in Bon Homme County three days earlier than permitted.

That amount reflected the maximum possible penalty of $10,000 per day. The $30,000 will be invested in state government’s permanent school fund.

Altogether there were five wind projects on the meeting agenda Tuesday.

The commission has several more applications pending.

“We have way too many wind farms to deal with simultaneously,” Gary Hanson, the commission chairman, said after the final 3-0 vote to grant a permit to Deuel Harvest North. 

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