PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The state Public Utilities Commission has one more decision to make before issuing a permit to build and operate the Wild Springs solar-energy facility in western South Dakota.
That’s whether to accept the project’s plan for when its electricity production ends.
Commissioners agreed Thursday to accept their staff’s recommendation for the permit but held back on the one item.
“It’s exciting to see this renewable energy penetrating South Dakota as strongly as it is,” commissioner Gary Hanson said.
Commissioner Chris Nelson emphasized the facility planned south of New Underwood in Pennington County won’t be allowed to operate until the decommissioning question is resolved.
Commissioner Kristie Fiegen said South Dakota has achieved high use of renewables without a mandate.
Mollie Smith, a lawyer for the project’s developer, said a final design hasn’t been made and that is why there isn’t yet a final amount for the surety bond. A placeholder of $4,480,000 has been pledged to the state commission and the Pennington County Planning Commission.
Smith said the project would have approximately 365,000 solar panels. Its capacity is 128 megawatts.