Library filed under General from South Dakota
As a series of South Dakota Farmers Union meetings approaches its end, John Kerstiens says he's hearing a good deal from landowners in favor of removing a confidentiality clause in wind-farm contracts that prevents neighbors from comparing offers.
As more and more wind developers start looking to South Dakota for future projects, landowners are becoming more astute in dealing with potential projects, according to Dusty Johnson, chairman of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
As the number of wind turbines scattered along the South Dakota skyline continues to grow, moving the energy they provide out of the state requires a fundamental change. Dusty Johnson of the state Public Utilities Commission puts it simply: A local power transmission system has to become national. Trying to transmit wind power to more populous states is not a new problem. But when federal regulators recently approved generous incentives for a proposed 3,000-mile, high-voltage transmission system, they kept alive a potential solution to at least part of the problem.
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission member Steve Kolbeck says a decision is pending on the $700 million, 306-megawatt Buffalo Ridge II wind farm proposed for land in Brookings and Deuel counties. The commission held a public hearing Wednesday on the project, which would cover 77,000 acres of land and could include 204 wind turbines.
It's a major player in President Barack Obama's plan to fuel the economy, but new projects this year to capture electricity from wind are expected to slow considerably because of the global financial crisis.
A 306-megawatt wind farm proposed for 77 acres in Brookings and Deuel counties would nearly triple the state's total production of wind energy - adding enough capacity to power 148,000 Midwestern homes. Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables Inc. wants to build Buffalo Ridge II close to its two existing farms near White. Buffalo Ridge II would join the 54-megawatt Minn-Dakota farm that came online in April and the 55-megawatt Buffalo Ridge I, which should be completed in early 2009.
Financing for wind farms has disappeared, and fewer companies will be able to develop the kind of mega projects needed to feed the growing demand for energy, said Reyad Fezzani, chief executive officer of BP's wind and solar operations at the recent Dow Jones Alternative Energy Innovations conference. ...To weather the downturn, BP and other companies will have to fund those wind farms and solar-power plants using equity financing. They then can refinance when the credit crunch eases, Fezzani said.
The MinnDakota Wind Power Project near White is set to expand by one-third. Iberdrola Renewables, of Portland, Ore., on Friday announced a $100 million expansion, called the Buffalo Ridge Wind Power Project. It would add 50 megawatts of potential power production from about 50 new turbines. There already are 100 turbines in the original MinnDakota wind farm capable of producing 150 megawatts.
Iberdrola Renewables announced today that it has signed a lease agreement with the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, and some adjacent landowners, to develop a 225 megawatt (MW) wind farm, the first such project on the tribe's land. Studies are under way. Assuming all tribal and federal permitting processes proceed quickly, the project could be online as early as 2010 and would provide enough energy for 79,000 homes each year, according to American Wind Energy Association estimates. "We are delighted to be working with the Lower Brule Tribe on this important project," said Tim Seck, Director of Development for Iberdrola.
The approval of 3 towers that will measure wind in Lyman County may be the first step in construction of what could be one of South Dakota's largest wind farms. ...Halverson says there is speculation by area residents that up to 120 towers could be erected. A firm named PPM Energy , now known as Iberdrola Renewables, has distributed wind-energy literature in Lyman County.
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.
South Dakota is among the top five windiest states in the country, but it faces major hurdles in turning that wind into electricity on a large scale, according to Michael Trykoski of Rapid City, chairman of the board of the South Dakota Energy Infrastructure Authority. "There is no silver bullet, no magic fix," Trykoski told about 100 people gathered for a Tuesday forum ...Building new transmission lines can cost up to $1 million a mile, he said. Even if the state built additional transmission lines, it could do so only to the state's borders, he said.
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."
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.
"...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.
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.