Library from South Dakota
A study conducted by South Dakota State University students to determine the feasibility of wind energy in Charles Mix County has determined that personal wind generators are the way to go. The group of engineering students, which was hired by Charles Mix County, presented their results during Friday's Agricultural Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Workshop at the Wagner High School Auditorium. According to Charles Mix County Commissioner Red Allen, transmission issues factored heavily into the group's decision. ..."They're recommending that people in Charles Mix County go with small wind generators for their homes," he said. "You can get one that produces 800 kilowatts per month for $12,000 to $14,000." Allen expects the group to present its complete results at a set of future meetings in the area.
The concept of wind energy is viewed by state and civic leaders as either a good thing or a bad thing, Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson said, something he hopes to change when he addresses a group of officials from several counties today. "A lot of people believe that wind power is sort of a ‘silver bullet' that is going to create tremendous economic development and prosperity for South Dakota," Johnson said. "(Others say) that wind power is ‘fool's gold' - that it's expensive, that the wind doesn't blow when it needs to, and that wind power has the effect of raising energy prices." ...The reality is that wind has some tremendous challenges. It's not the answer to our energy solutions in the country, but it is a part of the answer."
Two months after announcing that the newly formed Republic of Lakotah had seceded from the United States, organizer Russell Means outlined plans for a wind-energy project for citizens of the new country. At a meeting in Rapid City on Saturday, Means said he has been talking with representatives of a California company about plans to put windmills on land owned by both Native Americans and non-Natives willing to become citizens of the new Republic of Lakotah. He declined to name the company. Means, a longtime activist, said he and other organizers have met with tribal members of the Standing Rock, Rosebud and Yankton Sioux tribes. Windmills could be sprouting on the Standing Rock, Rosebud and possibly Pine Ridge reservations this spring, he said. "All of the people living in our land are outlaws," Means said. "All of the states are outlaws."
Gov. Mike Rounds says he wants 20 percent of South Dakota's power to come from wind energy by 2030. And places like, Lawrence County, are working on wind turbine ordinances to help achieve that goal. But those regulations will only apply to property outside of city limits. That's why Spearfish city planners are working on their own preliminary wind turbine regulations. ..."What we're trying to do is balance that need for renewable energy resources in South Dakota with what we consider to be our most premiere resource, and that is the scenic beauty of the Black Hills. Not an easy problem to solve," Jayna Watson, the Spearfish city planner said.
It's our turn now, Spearfish City Planner Jayna Watson said about when it comes to erecting wind generators within the city limits. Spearfish Planning and Zoning Commissioners met Wednesday to discuss the future of wind energy. This discussion comes on the heels of news that every school district in South Dakota received a letter from the Public Utilities Commission requesting administrators to consider constructing wind generators on their property. Watson explained that it is part of an initiative to have 20 percent of South Dakota's energy come from wind power by 2030.
...the amount of time could vary before the investors would make their money back. "It all depends on what you can get for the output," he said. Wiebe said one thing to keep in mind is, "The wind doesn't blow 100 percent of the time. ... So the actual output of the turbine could be anywhere from 30 to 45 percent (of capacity)." The placement of the wind farms can also be affected by its proximity to the habitats of endangered species or archeological sites. Parsley said proximity to buildings must also be taken into account, not only for noise, but for the winter months, when ice can collect on and be flung from the blades.
The project's official name is "Capacity Expansion by 2020," or "CapX2020" for short. It is being driven by an alliance of 11 different utility companies throughout the region, which covers all of Minnesota as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. The power line planned for this area is one of three 345 kV lines proposed at different areas of the state as part of the the CapX2020 project. The project also includes construction of one 230 kV line between Bemidji and Grand Rapids. A public hearing for residents of this area is scheduled for next Tuesday, in Cannon Falls. It is one of many meetings still to come during the CapX2020 planning process. ...Rate payers from all area power utility companies will see an increase in their bills as a result of the CapX2020 construction, he added. Though Fordice could not put a specific amount on how much the increase to utility bills will be - probably $1.50 to $2 a month - the project itself is going to cost $1.4 billion, which will be divided among all 11 utility companies.
Work continues on crafting an ordinance relative to wind power generation even as the Lawrence County Planning and Zoning department hears more plans for wind turbines at locations around the county. In the last few months several landowners have approached the commission to tell them of plans to erect wind turbines to ease reliance on coal-generated power. But at that time, no ordinance existed that dealt specifically with wind turbines. So while landowners started jumping through the hoops set before them, county attorney Bruce Outka and planning and zoning director Amber Vogt began working on a draft ordinance that would address the turbines with regard to height, placement and noise.
"...we have to get the equivalent of an interstate highway system to get wind from where it's generated to where it's needed," said Thune. That's where large transmission lines like these will come in. "Getting power generated here is one thing, but getting it out to the customers where the demand is is another," ...
Plans for the world's largest wind farm, proposed to be built in South Dakota, have become more grandiose. ...Clipper Windpower of Carpinteria, Calif., intends to erect enough wind turbines in several South Dakota counties to produce up to 6,000 megawatts of electricity, said Bob Gates, the firm's senior vice president of commercial operations. That would be eight times larger than the biggest wind farm in the world, a 735-megawatt FPL Energy facility with 421 turbines stretching across three Texas counties. ...Clipper makes 2.5 megawatt turbines, and it would take 2,400 of them to produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity. However, the firm continues to develop more efficient turbines and is part of a project to build 7.5 megawatt turbines for an oceanic wind farm off the coast of Britain.
But we also wonder if the time is coming soon when the view of windmills will no longer be a curiosity but an annoyance. Imagine dozens, or even hundreds, of wind turbines in this area. We love the beauty of our region and think of how it would look if such tall turbines were on the horizon at sunset, or partially block the view of a favorite lake or slough. This isn't to say we don't support the wind energy industry. We do. But just like the time came to establish zoning laws for livestock facilities or for manufacturing facilities, we think the time has come to establish statewide zoning for wind towers.
PPM Energy plans to place anemometers on 180-foot towers to measure wind speeds and patterns in Minnehaha County. ...PPM is serious about developing more wind power in South Dakota, Dusty Johnson said. "You don't spend money on anemometers and collecting and analyzing data unless it's your belief the area is truly outstanding," he said.
SIOUX FALLS (AP) -- Information collected 200 to 300 feet above the ground indicates the wind energy potential in South Dakota has been underestimated, according to Mike Ropp, who's overseeing the collection of data. South Dakota has long been considered a good site for wind energy production, based on computer modeling and data collected mostly by National Weather Service anemometers, often 30 feet above the ground. But the Wind Resource Assessment Network puts sensors on transmission towers to measure the wind at the heights where turbines would operate. "Wind speed changes at elevation, and in the band we're looking at -- 50 to 90 meters (164-295 feet) -- we're finding the winds tend to be stronger than had been predicted by previous studies and a little more consistent, less gusty," said Ropp, an associate professor of electrical engineering at South Dakota State University.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., has written U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials to say that changing wind farm policies based on the chance that migrating whooping cranes might be hurt would send a bad message.
The Brookings County Planning and Zoning Commission last week gave the OK to Nativas Energy to build a 200-megawatt, 100-turbine wind farm southeast of White. The project in Sherman Township, called the White Wind Farm, already had approval from the state Public Utilities Commission, and the county was Navitas' last hurdle. Construction is expected to begin in 2008.
There is good news and bad news for South Dakota wind energy from six years of monitoring data. The state's wind resources have long ranked at or near the top in the U.S., though turbine construction has lagged states such as Minnesota and Iowa. The Wind Resource Assessment Network confirms the potential is high, and has even been underestimated in some places. The bad news is that peak wind speeds tend not to match up with peak demand. The assessment shows the highest wind speeds at 10 locations are at night and in the winter, whereas peak electricity use occurs during hot summer days. Future developments such as the wider use of plug-in electric cars could overcome those limitations, engineering professor Mike Ropp of South Dakota State University said in a news release. SDSU set up the wind assessment network, along with electric cooperatives and other groups.
Developers are getting a better picture of South Dakota's wind energy potential thanks to South Dakota State University science. Associate professor Mike Ropp in SDSU's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science said SDSU's Wind Resource Assessment Network, or WRAN, is working with electric cooperatives, private landowners, and South Dakota Public Broadcasting to assess wind energy potential around South Dakota. Stations across the state are gathering long-term data about wind speeds at 50, 70, and even 90 meters above the earth. A height of 50 meters is about 164 feet. A height of 90 meters is about 295 feet. "That band is where wind turbines live. But there's a dearth of information about wind speeds at those heights," Ropp said.
South Dakota's wind energy potential is being capitalized by a new wind farm that's springing up in McPherson County. Sixty turbines are being erected north of Long lake in north-central South Dakota. Another 60 are going up just across the border in Dickey County, North Dakota. The Tatanka wind farm is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The electricity will be fed into the Montana-Dakota Utilities system. The project is slated to produce about 90 megawatts in South Dakota and 90 in North Dakota. One megawatt will supply more than 400 homes.
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) A big wind farm in east central South Dakota got the go-ahead today from the Public Utilities Commission. It approved a construction permit for a wind farm of up to 103 turbines southeast of White. It would be built by Navitas Energy, a Minneapolis developer of wind farms.
The state Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday approved a construction permit for a $300 million wind farm of up to 103 turbines southeast of White....The permit for what would be the state's largest wind farm and an accompanying 29-page document that lays out all conditions was approved with little discussion, few questions and no opposition.