Articles from South Dakota
Commissioner John Claggett said he was “deluged” with calls, asking why the county would accept wind turbines when the commission has not allowed wind turbines to be built in the county. He said governing bodies aren’t doing enough to hold wind energy companies and supporters accountable. “I’m getting asked, ‘We don’t have active wind farms here, why do we bring that in?'" he said.
A crane tipped over at a construction site where wind turbines are being erected for the Prevailing Wind Park about 10 miles southwest of Tripp Wednesday morning. ...The turbines are planned to have a maximum height of 590 feet and a maximum rotor diameter of 449 feet.
Construction manager Scott Creech confirmed an incident occurred Wednesday in Bon Homme County. However, he declined to provide more details on what caused the tipping of the crane, which was shown lying on the ground in social media photos. ...Creech also declined to confirm the crane’s height. However, Ronnie Hornstra, president of Prevailing Wind LLC, has told the Press & Dakotan "two of the only three mammoth cranes this size in the United States are on the project."
The South Dakota Board of Economic Development stepped off its normal path Tuesday. A majority of board members voted against a reinvestment payment that owners of Triple H Wind Farm had sought for the Hyde County project.
The wind energy industry isn't immune to cyclical replacement, with turbine blades needing to be replaced after a decade or two in use. That has wind energy producers looking for places to accept the blades on their turbines that need to be replaced.
Commissioner Kristie Fiegen said the fact that Prevailing Wind violated one of many conditions in their permits so early in their construction was a major concern -- especially for a project of its size. ...in order to avoid a costly civil lawsuit. Prevailing Wind will pay the maximum fine of $10,000 per day of the violation, totaling $30,000. The money will go to the permanent school fund.
“This major legislation doubles the amount of time citizens have to prepare for and resolve issues during wind evidentiary hearings,” said PUC Chairman Gary Hanson. “It gives citizens a stronger negotiating position, and guarantees that all parties to a docket are entitled to an evidentiary hearing. The new law also provides local governments with more influence in wind and solar development.”
In the eyes of a lawyer, which is not very romantic, when a wind farm contains steel, wires, underground cabling, electrical components and concrete we have potential legal liability. Wind farm infrastructure is not owned by the landowner. It is owned by the wind farm operator. A landowner has no right to control or interfere with a wind farm. Who may be liable and to what extent is always an interesting legal question. A court calls this the allocation of liability. It is best not to become involved in a question on the allocation of liability. General liability insurance coverage is one way in which liability risks are reduced.
State commission member Chris Nelson said escrow arrangements provide financial protection in case a wind farm's owner goes bankrupt. The money would be returned to companies if it isn't needed. "It's a good bill for landowners and a good bill for developers," Nelson said.
Financial decommissioning safeguards, if in place, would have a considerable effect on the interest of local landowners, farmers, ranchers and neighbors in proposed wind farms. It is a common response to a proposed wind farm for a landowner to say, 'Oh yes they will be here today – but gone tomorrow.' If 'tomorrow' comes don't landowners, farmers, ranchers and the neighbors of a wind farm have a right to the proper and complete process of decommissioning?
That no vote came from Senator Jim Bolin (R-Canton). “Wind power is a sensitive subject in southern Lincoln County,” Bolin said. “The subject has many concerns. ...I am not against wind energy, but it is a very intense, localized issue in my district.”
Special thanks to Attorney David Ganje for contributing this informative essay on wind energy leases.
A public meeting was held on Monday, December 10, 2018, at the Martin Activity Center to discuss plans for Pass Creek Wind, a utility-scale wind energy project planned for Bennett County north of Martin. Approximately 35 people attended the meeting including Bennett County Commissioners, local ranchers and members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
James Madson, the project development manager, said there still isn't a purchaser for the electricity. ...The commission Thursday also approved a transmission line of 230-kilovolt capacity that would cross 34 miles of Grant and Codington counties and connect two 300-megawatt projects to Otter Tail Power's Big Stone South sub-station.
Both the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and Department of Health are playing Russian Roulette with the health of their constituents if projects permitted in 2018 use ten year old data for guidelines on safety and quality of life. Inadequate protection by policy makers will result in jeopardized public health and exorbitant legal expenses to defend inadequate guidelines based on outdated data.
The state Public Utilities Commission ruled Friday that opponents could subpoena information from county governments and witnesses could testify by telephone or videoconference when a wind-farm project comes up for a permit hearing next month.
We pay for these projects through taxes and increased utility rates for power we don’t need or use. People won’t know what hit them until the towers are built. That’s too late. These sacrifice quality of life, health, safety and residential property values for the greed of a few.
The most powerful wind turbines ever seen in the state could soon be built in southwest Minnesota. The state needs to approve the proposed wind farm. The industry is ramping up turbine size in the name of efficiency, but the skyscraper-sized machines are also attracting more public opposition.
Dakota Range Wind I and II will initially place towers in Codington and Grant Counties. A followup project would place more towers into Grant and also into Roberts County. Attorney for the interveners is John Wiles of the Watertown firm Wiles & Rylance.
The commissioners’ approval of the three motions Tuesday didn’t mean they were approving the wind farm at this time. Instead, they decided the project was in compliance with the county zoning ordinance, which takes the process to the next level. The commissioners were split in their votes.