Library filed under Zoning/Planning from South Dakota
South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Dusty Johnson said the general consensus is that South Dakota should move faster to bring certain industries — wind farms, for instance — to the state. The amount of channeled wind power in the state has increased 700 percent in the last 18 months, Johnson said, and work is continuing to lay groundwork for new wind farm projects.
The state Public Utilities Commission has made it easier for small power generators to get their renewable energy flowing onto the electric grid. Called the South Dakota Small Generation Interconnection Rules, Thursday's decision simplifies who can connect to the electric grid and how. It allows electric customers to be producers, too, by connecting clean energy systems such as solar panels and wind turbines to the grid.
The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has approved a construction permit for the $700 million Buffalo Ridge II wind farm planned for Brookings and Deuel counties. All three commissioners agreed Tuesday to approve the 306-megawatt project, which could include up to 204 turbines.
Alternate sites near Winner and White Lake are being considered for a wind farm that would have at least 100 turbines. ...One possible location consists of 37,000 acres about 15 miles north of White Lake, including land in Brule, Aurora and Jerauld counties.
The Grant County Commission has passed a rewritten ordinance dealing with the transmission of electricity from wind farms proposed for the area. Officials say the ordinance is in response to developers' interest in building wind turbines along the Coteau Ridge in the Summit area. Companies already are negotiating with landowners for easements to build turbines.
Facing a May 1 legal deadline for a permit decision, the state Public Utilities Commission gave all sides 48 hours Tuesday to identify where they disagree on the proposed Buffalo Ridge II wind-power project. Iberdrola Renewables needs a construction and operation permit from the South Dakota regulatory agency for the $620 million project, which the Spain-based company wants to start building yet this year and have in operation possibly by December 2010. ..."We have not even had a hearing yet," Rogers said. "It appears to me that it would be premature for the commission to approve this stipulation at this point, because what this stipulation actually is findings of fact and conclusions of law."
A ordinance for proposed wind energy systems fizzled Tuesday before the Lawrence County Commission. After eight months of study and recommendations the wind energy ordinance was tabled at its second reading. ,,,Commissioners need to decide what is a large or small system based on height or kilowatts produced.
Harrisburg might be years away from being a source of alternative energy, but a small step taken by the city's planning and zoning commission will help the community be ready if it happens. The commission this month recommended the approval of a wind turbine ordinance. The ordinance next moves to the City Council for action. Discussion of wind energy started after the Harrisburg School District applied for a wind energy educational program earlier this year, said Albert Schmidt, city planning and zoning administrator.
The Lawrence County Planning and Zoning Commission Tuesday directed county planning director Amber Vogt to pencil out new law governing the placement of wind generators in the county. Vogt said the rough draft could be ready for a first look at the planning commission's Aug. 14 meeting. As the planning commission laid out its timeline for drafting an ordinance, which could take up to six months, they said they would likely deny any new requests for wind towers until the new ordinance is in place.
The Harrisburg Planning and Zoning Board wants to revise a city ordinance to allow wind turbines to generate power within the city. At the board's May 14 meeting, Toby Brown of the South Eastern Council of Governments presented handouts referring to two types of wind power generation - "micro" and "small." The micro turbines are defined as those producing 10 kilowatts or less, with those in the small category producing 50 kilowatts or less. Of the two systems, micro is allowed in residential areas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WESSINGTON SPRINGS, S.D. (AP) -- Heartland Consumers Power District has partnered with the Australian firm that's buying NorthWestern Corp. and has agreed to purchase electricity produced by turbines at what will be one of the state's largest wind farms. The wind farm will spread over about 3,000 acres just south of Wessington Springs. Jim Burg, Wessington Springs mayor and former state Public Utilities Commission member, said preparation for construction could start soon. "I think you'll see a lot of activity this year as far as testing soils and surveying and all those types of things," he said. "You'll see some of that happening anytime but I'm told that construction won't begin until 2008." The project includes 34 large wind turbines, each 262 feet tall with a rotor diameter of 253 feet. Currently, the largest wind farm in the state, near Highmore, has 27 turbines. Other projects already in the works could end up being larger.
A company that is planning a wind power project across the North Dakota-South Dakota border wants to construct a 10-mile power line to connect the turbines to North Dakota’s electrical grid, state regulators say. The Public Service Commission on Wednesday accepted Tatanka Wind Power LLC’s letter of intent to build the Dickey County power line, which the company hopes to begin constructing in March. Company filings estimate the project’s cost at $7.3 million.