The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved the construction of the Dakota Range III wind energy facility and transmission line to be built in Grant and Roberts counties.
The company said that the three-member PUC has accepted a settlement agreement presented by Dakota Range and the PUC staff at its regular meeting in Pierre on 15 February 2019.
The approval form the PUC facilitates Dakota Range III to advance with plans to erect approximately 42 wind turbines, with a combined capacity of 151.2MW of energy. Along with the installation, the company is also expected to build a 13km 345-kV transmission line associated with the project.
The commission has accepted settlement stipulation with 42 conditions Dakota Range must meet during the construction, reclamation, operation and potential decommissioning of the project. The details of conditions to be addressed include noise levels, turbine blade ice detection, aircraft detection lighting, and shadow flicker, among others.
PUC Chairman Gary Hanson said: “I applaud the efficiency of the commission staff working with Dakota Range to vet, analyze, and negotiate the myriad components of this docket. There were no formal opponents to this project, so we did not have a contested-case evidentiary hearing.
“Those hearings significantly impact the activity required during the statutory six-month timeline for the PUC to decide wind energy cases.”
Dakota Range plans to bring the wind facility in to service by the end of 2020 and the company estimates approximately $200m as the total cost of the project.
PUC Vice Chairman Chris Nelson said: “I greatly appreciated the citizens of this area who spoke at our public input meeting regarding their views of how this wind farm will impact their community. Citizen input helped move this application process to the conclusion we have today.”
In December 2018, US-based energy services provider ENGIE North America announced that acquisition of the Dakota Range III wind project from Apex Clean Energy. The company had also signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Xcel Energy for the project’s full capacity.