Library from South Dakota
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.
The U.S. Senate has passed Amendment #1609, an energy transmission infrastructure amendment to the recently passed energy bill. Proposed by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the infrastructure amendment would encourage the creation of energy corridors to facilitate the transference of wind energy generated in South Dakota to high-demand areas, according to Thune's office. "This legislation is critical to promoting the development of wind energy in South Dakota and around the country. As the windiest state in the nation, South Dakota will greatly benefit from these provisions. Today's vote in the Senate is a major step in the direction of clean, alternative energy," Thune says.
DEADWOOD, S.D. - Discussions over clean energy opened the 2007 Western Governors' Association's recent annual meeting in the Black Hills. Ten of the 19 governors were in attendance and elected officials from Canada were also present. Clean energy was not the only topic for the meeting June 10 - 12, but it took up a good portion of event. Carbon capturing and sequestration, or CCS - the process of capturing CO2 emissions for storage underground - was discussed at length. Western states have had to rely most recently on fossil fuel as a power source because a seven-year drought has substantially reduced the flow of water to hydroelectric dams on the Missouri River. The hydro power from those dams is allocated through the Western Area Power Administration.
Washington (AP) Senator John Thune is pushing provisions that would promote the development of wind energy as the Senate debates a new energy bill. The Senate today passed a Thune amendment that would promote the development of energy transmission infrastructure. It would promote the creation of "energy corridors" that would make it easier to transfer wind energy to high-demand areas. Thune says South Dakota already has the wind energy and that the missing link is the way to deliver the energy. Also today, the Senate Finance Committee passed energy legislation that would extend a production tax credit for wind energy. That bill will be added to the energy legislation being considered by the full Senate.
Renewable energy is proving to be an oasis of cooperation amid conflict in Congress, but technology probably will determine how long that lasts and how much South Dakota benefits. A U.S. Senate committee last week passed a measure by a 20-3 vote increasing ethanol production seven-fold. The majority included a proxy vote by Sen. Tim Johnson, according to a spokeswoman. Sen. John Thune proposed a major tax break for wind energy, and this week will hear arguments for increasing vehicle fuel-economy standards.
Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, a subsidiary of Integrys Energy Group (NYSE: TEG), is looking to build or buy a wind generation facility of approximately 100 megawatts of nameplate capacity somewhere in the Midwest. "To help meet our renewable energy requirements, we are exploring wind options throughout the footprint of the Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO), our regional electric transmission authority," said Public Service Director - Renewable and Special Projects Rob Benninghoff. "That includes the area roughly from the Dakotas to Illinois."
Developing wind power is a spendy proposition. Construction of a single wind turbine can run $1.8 million. And once turbines are in place there still must be a way to transmit power. Depending on the size of line, building that transmission capability can run from $60,000 to $400,000 per mile. "That's one of the problems," said Jim Edwards, assistant general manager of operations for East River Electric. "The wind is where the transmission isn't." South Dakota and North Dakota account for 58 percent of the onshore wind resource in the nation, but the states are also among the most sparsely populated in the country. That power has to be transmitted to population centers. Many South Dakotans might say the wind never quits blowing in the state, but in reality wind turbines operate only about a third of the time. That inconsistency is one of the biggest problems in trying to harness wind energy. Electrical needs don't follow the wind, so that wind energy cannot be used as a sole source of power.
Rain clouds have been all too rare for the past seven years in the Missouri River basin, but wind energy advocates are seeing a silver lining anyway. Drought has cut hydropower production to 56 percent of normal, leaving space on the electric grid and demand in the marketplace. That might create an opportunity for new wind farms to replace missing hydropower. Dam operators could return the favor by ramping up hydro production - forming a partnership of zero-emission energy sources.