Southeast South Dakota wind farm project advances

February 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

BERESFORD, S.D. | With more than 80 owners of nearly 20,000 acres onboard, a $2 billion wind energy project planned for southeast South Dakota has moved to the research phase.

The Dakota Power Community Community Wind Board has approved the purchase of a 60-meter tower that will be used to gather data in the design of the wind turbines in southern Lincoln County, near Beresford, board chairman Paul Shubeck said.

The meterological tower, or MET for short, is scheduled to go up this spring. It will be equipped with anemometers to measure wind speed and vanes to measure wind direction at several different heights above ground level, according to the company.

“We need to collect two to three years of data before construction can begin,” Schubeck said.

The local landowners backing the Dakota Power project, announced last summer, envision a wind farm of up to 1,000 megawatts. That would be one of the largest in South Dakota, adding nearly 50 percent to the state’s wind production.

The 20,000 acres of farmland currently signed up for the project are sufficient to support a 300-megawatt wind farm, according to company officials.

Dakota Power officials will begin speaking directly to individual landowners in targeted townships to create the “most efficient wind farm footprint.”

“The window of opportunity for landowner participation is closing,” Shubeck said. “Once this initial phase is complete, land cannot be added to the project.”

Company officials estimate the total investment at $2 billion, which would require several equity partners over multiple years to reach that level.

Based on a study done for a similar project, Dakota Power believes the potential revenue from turbines to landowners could run $6 million to $7 million annually. More than 1,000 construction jobs may be created, and in excess of 70 permanent, on-site jobs.

Statewide direct economic impacts could be in excess of $200 million.

State gross production annual tax receipts should reach more than $5 million and the county tax revenues should be near $3 million per year.

Beresford Mayor Jim Fedderson said local leaders are impressed with the “professionalism and the economic potential of the Dakota Power project.

“The project is community-based and targeted to South Dakota landowners and promises to use South Dakota’s renewable resources to help solve our country’s energy needs,” Fedderson said.

The idea for the Dakota Power project was sparked by the Rock Island Clean Line, a 3,500-megawatt high-voltage, transmission line slated to deliver wind-generated power from Siouxland to customers in the Chicago area.

The 500-mile, direct-current line will begin near Primghar in O’Brien County, Iowa.

The Rock Island line developer, Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners, is looking to partner with wind farms in Northwest Iowa, Southeast South Dakota, Northeast Nebraska and Southwest Minnesota.

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