SD Regulators Move Ahead On Four Major Wind Projects

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Four more projects went forward Friday to turn South Dakota’s wind into a lot more electricity.

The state Public Utilities Commission approved the latest developments for each.

Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy received the OK to erect up to 42 more turbines for Dakota Range III in Grant and Roberts counties.

The commission received the company’s application last October and held a public meeting at Summit in December on the $200 million project.

A transmission line was approved as part of Dakota Range III. The permit included 42 conditions to be met.

State regulators also gave the final green light for Prevailing Wind Park in Bon Homme, Charles Mix and Hutchinson counties.

The latest steps included hiring Kelsey McGregor of Sioux Falls to be public liaison officer and arranging an escrow account for dismantling the project someday.

McGregory will be very important, according to Commissioner Kristie Fiegen.

“It’s a relatively new role for us.” the commissioner told McGregor. “We certainly are giving the public face to you in that footprint to try to work with people for the common good of South Dakota.”

The owner, Utah-based sPower — that’s correct, sPower — applied last May to construct up to 61 turbines between Avon, Tripp and Wagner. A public meeting was held in July at Avon.

Commissioners held a hearing in October and gave initial approval in November.

Commissioner Chris Nelson told lawyer Mollie Smith and others representing the project that he appreciated their efforts working through the final items.

“As you know, the whole aspect of decommissioning has been important to me and the fact that you all put together what I think is an excellent agreement, again I say thank you for that,” Nelson 

The commission Friday also began considering two new applications for projects.

NextEra Energy Resources wants to build Crowned Ridge Wind in Codington and Grant counties. The Florida-based company applied in January to erect up to 130 turbines.

Northern States Power has contracted to buy the electricity Crowned Ridge generates.

A public meeting is set for March 20 at 5:30 p.m. CT in the Waverly school gym.

California-based ENGIE North America seeks a state permit to construct Triple H Wind in Hyde County.

The application calls for up to 92 turbines across four townships about three miles southwest of Highmore and stretching west to the Hughes County line.

A public meeting is planned March 19 at 5:30 p.m. CT in Hyde County Memorial Auditorium at Highmore.

Commission dockets for the four projects are at https://puc.sd.gov/agendas/2019/0215.aspx.

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