Two Wind Facilities In Northeast South Dakota Moving Forward Quickly

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Two big wind facilities proposed in northeastern South Dakota are now in the fast lane for approval from state regulators. 

No one applied to intervene in either one. 

That’s according to staff attorney Amanda Reiss for the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.

It means no one officially wants to oppose either of them.

One is a 10.4-mile transmission line called Bitter Root in Deuel County. Its estimated cost is $15 million, plus nearly $5 million to share a new substation planned near Astoria. 

The other is a wind farm with 42 turbines and eight miles of transmission line known as Dakota Range III.

It’s proposed in Grant and Roberts counties west of Summit along Interstate 29 and south of US 12.

Its estimated cost is $200 million and would connect with the Big Stone South to Ellendale line. 

Xcel Energy would buy the 151 megawatts generated at Dakota Range III. 

The Bitter Root presentation is at https://puc.sd.gov/commission/dockets/electric/2018/el18-045/presentation.pdf

The Dakota Range III presentation is at https://puc.sd.gov/commission/dockets/electric/2018/el18-046/presentation.pdf. 

The Bitter Root transmission line would feature 85 monopole steel structures 95 to 130 feet tall spaced an average of 674 feet apart.

That’s according to a presentation December 18 at Deubrook Elementary School in Toronto, S.D. 

Flying Cow Wind wants the line to follow an S-shaped route in eastern Deuel County.

The line’s interconnect point is along the border with Yellow Medicine County, Minnesota, where a wind farm is planned.

Flying Cow Wind is a wholly owned subsidiary of Roaring Fork Wind, a joint venture of Renewable Energy Systems Americas and Vestas Wind Systems.

The global office for RES is at Kings Langley, England, north of London. The world office for Vestas is at Aarhus, Denmark. 

The transmission line would connect the Bitter Root 152-megawatt wind farm, being built in Yellow Medicine County, to a substation planned by Otter Tail Power, about 1.5 miles northwest of Astoria, S.D. 

The Astoria substation is part of Otter Tail’s proposal for an electricity-generating plant fueled by natural gas.

The substation would route electricity from the wind farm to the Big Stone South transmission line that is part of the bulk electric grid.  

Flying Cow officials want the transmission line completed in 2020 and the substation ready in early 2021. 

Meanwhile ENGIE Group has acquired the Dakota Range III proposed wind project, according to a December 18 letter from an attorney for the project.

ENGIE is based at La Defense, France, in the Paris metro area. 

The Dakota Range III developers made a public presentation December 19 at Summit School. 

South Dakota law requires state regulators to complete permit consideration within six months of the filing of an application for a wind farm.

The commission agreed Friday to a three-day evidentiary hearing for Dakota Range III starting March 4. 

Commissioner Chris Nelson asked whether the three days would be needed.

Attorney Reiss said the commission staff and Dakota Range III’s developers intend to pare the issues to “a very few.” 

“We would ask the commission to hold those dates just in case,” Reiss said. 

“My personal hope is we could reduce that,” Nelson said.

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