Library filed under General from South Dakota
Crossing the threshold from a state with wind to spare and a state with wind to sell won't be simple. Especially when its met with community resistance. Hundreds of residents support We-Care South Dakota, a non-profit group committed to keeping turbines off the south Lincoln countryside.
South Dakota has enormous potential for wind energy development. It ranks sixth in the United States for potential in generating electricity from wind, according to a laboratory associated with the Department of Energy. Just step out onto the plains and observe. The state is using only less than a fraction of a percent of this total capacity (.17 percent to be exact). This fraction of a percent produced 26 percent of all electricity produced in South Dakota in 2013 — only Iowa produces a larger share of its total electricity from wind.
As Lincoln County officials write rules for wind towers into their zoning ordinance, landowners are split over whether a wind energy project is right for them. The proposed Dakota Power Community Wind project is still in the testing phase, but it has met much opposition already.
Backers of a wind farm will need to re-start the application process for five test towers after the Lincoln County Commission ruled that the company had applied for wrong permits.
Dakota Power Community decided to put up a meteorological tower to test the potential for wind power in the Lincoln County. The temporary tower is supposed to be the first of many and would collect data for proposed wind farm projects in the Bereseford, South Dakota area, but some folks who own land on the proposed site are looking to stop the project in its tracks.
Hubner said he's against the project for two main reasons. First, the turbines, he said, would ruin the landscape of his land to possibly drive down property values in the area. Second, the ownership of the first wind farm project, Project Beethoven, was sold to a multinational company that doesn't have the best interest of Bon Homme County in mind, Hubner said.
Winnie Peterson is president of We-Care SD, a nonprofit group that organized in opposition to the wind project. She said they don’t believe wind farms should be built in populated areas. Sioux Falls and the north Lincoln County communities continue to grow, she pointed out, and the southern part of the county is developing with more agribusiness.
Fierce opposition from neighbors shot down an Aberdeen company's attempt to gauge south Lincoln County's wind capacity for a potentially massive turbine farm last week. Critics told the county's planning and zoning board they were worried about property values, health impacts and nuisances from what could become a 500-megawatt wind project covering hundreds of square miles.
Winnie Peterson is chair of the group, and she says despite the investments and promotion, this project has a long way to go. Peterson says the main concerns behind this wind farm are not only the lack of economic sustainability, but also decreased property values.
Almost every chair was full at the Lincoln County Commission meeting. Many of the people were wearing pins protesting wind farms. Minnesota Lawyer Dan Schleck says those citizens were concerned that the state has too much power with decisions about giving land to wind energy.
“The people at We-Care who contacted me are looking for some balanced information, information that may be different from the public relations machines that get behind these projects to solicit investors and landowners,” Schleck said. “Not everything is going to be flowers and roses."
Oak Tree Energy attempted in 2010 to negotiate with NorthWestern. The utility refused to buy the power, saying the additional electricity wasn't necessary. Oak Tree Energy turned to the PUC in April 2011. Oak Tree used a federal law known as the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 as the basis for its complaint.
The Production Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of the year and Congress has yet to act on its extension. There is no vote on the tax credit scheduled in the House of Representatives, Noem said during a media conference call.
A government folly is playing out in our state's Capitol over a wind electricity project a group wants to build in Clark County. At the root of this folly is a federal requirement. Believe it or not, a wind farm developer can force a utility company to buy its electricity, even if the company doesn't want it. This gets worse. The wind power might cost more than the company wants its customers to have to pay for electricity.
Reed and Scott paid phone solicitors to make cold calls to investors, telling them that the wind farms were being constructed jointly by private investors and the U.S. government. Potential stakeholders were told that "government funds had been set aside by the President of the United States ...these alleged wind farm projects."
A Florida energy developer has suspended the permitting process for a 150-megawatt wind project in Hyde County, citing uncertainty about a power customer. ...Earlier this year, NextEra put the brakes on an environmental review for Crowned Ridge, the company's proposed 150-megawatt project.
NextEra "decided not to move forward" with the review "until we have greater clarity on several issues including securing a customer for the output," Steve Stengel, a spokesman for the Juno Beach, Florida-based company, said today in an e- mail.
"I can confirm that we are contemplating the sale of our Brandon, S.D., idle tower facility to reduce our manufacturing footprint," said John Segvich, director of marketing communications with Broadwind Energy.
Developers point to the usual culprit - a longstanding lack of adequate transmission - but also to a prolonged slump in electricity demand, sluggish growth in the broader economy and rock-bottom prices for natural gas, which competes with wind.
With no mandate in South Dakota to use renewable energy, "Anything your local provider is doing is simply out of generation needs," Glanzer said. "Obviously, there is a push to go forward with renewable but ...you want to make sure the price of that renewable resource is not going to affect your customers or your business in a negative way."