Library from South Dakota
The Aurora County Board of Adjustments will have a public hearing at 8 p.m. Tuesday on a conditional-use permit to build about 53 wind turbines on portions of 17 sections in Patten Township owned by 28 landowners. The meeting will be at the county courthouse in Plankinton. Basin Electric submitted its application on May 24.
According to data recorded from actual wind generators located from the Mexican border to the Canadian border through the high plains including Nebraska and wind information from Northwest's service area, the lights will be on only 30-40% of the time with much of it at partial power. Due to the fact that most renewable resources are intermittent their generation equipment becomes a duplication of electric generation cost and will increase the cost of providing electricity to all because the full capacity of our other resources must be in place and rotating at all times.
On the day President Obama stopped at Siemens and touted advancements in wind energy, a hard truth came to light on the other side of town. Wind energy is not cheaper. At least that is what Tom Aller of Alliant Energy/Interstate Power and Light told a crowd at St. Mary's Parish Center in Fort Madison.
A company that makes and repairs wind turbine blades said Wednesday it is laying off about one-third of the work force at its plant in the eastern South Dakota town of Howard. Knight & Carver Wind Group Inc. is laying off 16 of the Howard plant's 55 workers this week, and the firm might temporarily close the plant.
While Eastern game bird aficionados are quick to announce that the ruffed grouse is the "king of upland birds," there is little doubt that the sage grouse can lay claim to the throne in the West. As the largest grouse species in North America, the Greater sage grouse is a massive bird, with males often exceeding 5 lbs in weight. Those who hunt the giant birds claim that a flushing sage grouse is akin to a small turkey taking flight at your feet.
The overrides included a bill that gave large wind energy projects in excess of $500 million in tax refunds not available to other industries. Rounds vetoed the bill in part because it singled out the wind energy industry ..."If we have an incentive program for economic development, I think it is important to have a program that is available across the board rather than picking winners and losers among industries."
Gov. Mike Rounds vetoed a bill Friday that sought to modify South Dakota's tax refund program for wind farm development, saying it would have unfairly provided large wind farms a better deal than what was offered to other construction projects. But there's a good chance lawmakers will override the veto when they convene Monday for the final two days of this year's session, said House Republican Leader Bob Faehn of Watertown.
Gov. Mike Rounds has signed into law a bill aimed at giving South Dakota landowners more protection when they grant easements allowing construction of wind towers on their property.
South Dakota is trying to streamline its complex maze of tax incentives for small renewable energy projects. A bill that passed the Legislature last week rewrites state law to make the first $50,000 of the assessed value of a small to medium renewable energy property, or 70 percent of the assessed value if that figure is greater, exempt from real property tax.
Lawmakers had approved legislation on Thursday reforming South Dakota's program of construction-tax refunds for large business projects and agriculture processing projects. That legislation included a $500 million limit on the project costs that could qualify for the refunds. But there were second thoughts overnight that the cap might send the wrong message to companies considering developing wind projects in South Dakota, according to Rep. Val Rausch, R-Big Stone City.
Certainly no one in South Dakota should be against wind power development, but the city and county also can't ignore concerns and questions raised by individuals who will live close to the modern-day version of the windmill. One or two turbines might not be an issue but what happens in months and years to come if more and more requests are made to allow individual wind turbines in residential areas?
A small wind turbine won't be going up on Aberdeen public school grounds, school board members decided Monday. The board heard an update on the proposed wind turbine, part of the national Wind for Schools program, from Bob Pitz, the school district's director of operations. ...Assistant Superintendent Becky Guffin said the turbine wouldn't impact that many students. Financially, she said, the money could be better spent elsewhere.
South Dakota landowners interested in leasing their property to wind-energy developers should have an interest in bills to be presented to the State Affairs Committee on Thursday afternoon. Three bills that the State Affairs Committee has scheduled for testimony ...State Rep. Mitch Fargen, D-Flandreau, has proposed adding several new requirements and restrictions to state law in HB 1268 that are intended to protect landowners.
The three-month moratorium prevents any construction, erection or installation of a wind turbine in city limits or the city's one-mile jurisdiction. The City Council had been considering an ordinance that would prohibit wind turbines within city limits and one-mile outside of town because of noise and aesthetics complaints.
A state legislator wants to require registration of locations where anemometers are placed to measure wind speeds in South Dakota. Rep. Jason Frerichs, D-Wilmot, said the registry would help crop pilots avoid the towers when they're spraying fields from the air. He said land owners in an area also would benefit by knowing who's conducting research there for possible development of wind farms.
A bill that would lengthen the amount of time to develop a wind energy project to as long as 50 years meets with some concern by one industry official. House Assistant Majority Leader Kristi Noem, R-Castlewood, wants to change the current limit, which is five years, for developers to have an easement - the right to use another person's land for a stated purpose - on wind projects. The bill is HB1263.
The Aberdeen City Council is considering an ordinance that would prohibit wind turbines within city limits and the 1-mile jurisdiction. The Council approved first reading of the ordinance on Monday. Second reading and final adoption could come next week.
A pending wind farm project hit a snag in Tuesday's Brookings County Commission meeting when a local telecommunications company expressed concern about the wind farm's potential for interfering with phone lines. ..."We have in the past had some experiences with what's referred to as inductive interference that's caused by wind farms and their transmission lines. And it causes the quality of the services that our company to its customers to suffer severely on occasions."
Wind measurement towers put up ahead of planned wind farm projects are drawing concerns from crop dusters who say they blend in with the landscape. Crop duster Brian Hauschild says the main problem with the towers is they have no markings. Flying 140 mph at low altitudes in a small airplane carries numerous dangers, but the unmarked towers add a danger. ..."In the short-term, we're working on getting them marked so we can see them," he said. "In the long-term, I'm talking to the FAA, but this isn't something that will happen quickly."
Wind measurement towers put up ahead of planned wind farm projects are drawing concerns from crop dusters who say they blend in with the landscape. Crop duster Brian Hauschild says the main problem with the towers is they have no markings.