Articles from South Dakota
The state Public Utilities Commission ruled Friday that opponents could subpoena information from county governments and witnesses could testify by telephone or videoconference when a wind-farm project comes up for a permit hearing next month.
We pay for these projects through taxes and increased utility rates for power we don’t need or use. People won’t know what hit them until the towers are built. That’s too late. These sacrifice quality of life, health, safety and residential property values for the greed of a few.
The most powerful wind turbines ever seen in the state could soon be built in southwest Minnesota. The state needs to approve the proposed wind farm. The industry is ramping up turbine size in the name of efficiency, but the skyscraper-sized machines are also attracting more public opposition.
The commissioners’ approval of the three motions Tuesday didn’t mean they were approving the wind farm at this time. Instead, they decided the project was in compliance with the county zoning ordinance, which takes the process to the next level. The commissioners were split in their votes.
Ordinances governing wind energy systems, which are to be developed within a county, have a wide ranging effect on the local geography and economy. Local participation in ordinance drafting is a great advantage of county lawmaking. This leaves an opportunity for county commissioners to make the public, its local residents, “partners” in this lawmaking. There should be little uncertainty in ordinance language, it should be transparent, and the end product should favor open public participation in wind farm applications.
The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) held a public hearing on the wind farm last month in Avon, attended by about 200 people. The four-hour meeting generated testimony from both sides for the controversial project. ...The PUC expects to make a final decision on Prevailing Wind by October.
Minor damage to a Codington County road has one citizen concerned about what will happen when construction on wind towers begins in full.
The attempt by a London, England, company to build a wind farm in Yellow Medicine County is meeting resistance from a small community just across the South Dakota border ...The request is that RES and the MPUC respect and honor the ordinance that requires wind tower setbacks to be at least 3 miles away from the water.
A proposed wind farm expansion in Campbell County has prompted local officials to consider adopting temporary planning and zoning controls. A “large delegation” of residents voiced their concerns over the proposed 39-turbine expansion of the existing 55-turbine wind farm owned by ConEdison, according to the July 6 Campbell County Commission meeting minutes.
State Rep. Spencer Gosch, R-Glenham, was at the meeting to explain the options the county has. ..."There was a substantial amount of residents from Campbell County who were there because they were concerned about what little information they had about what was going on" Gosch said.
Commissioner Hanson offered a condition, which was agreed to by both parties that there be a liaison for everyone involved. “I feel strongly that folks in Clark County be given a clear path to communicate if they have concerns during the construction or operation of the facility,” he said.
Editor's note: The existing ordinance, without amendment, includes a setback distance for non-participating homes of at least 1,500 feet from the closest exterior wall. For projects using towers that stand over 500 feet, setback distances are increased by 2 1/2 feet per every foot over the 500-foot height.
Commissioner Lee Gabel, however, proposed an amendment that essentially increases the distance towers must be located from the properties of both those who will accept towers on their land and those who won’t. On a 3-2 vote the commissioners agreed to take action on the amendment at their June 7 meeting. They could not do so Tuesday because the public must be allowed time to view the changes.
“We really need to get something on the books as far as an ordinance much sooner than later,” Supervisor Erik Underberg said in January. “Without an ordinance we are not doing anything in the best interest of the county.”
The county’s commissioners, meeting as the Board of Adjustment Tuesday, unanimously voted in opposition to a conditional use permit application for a nine-turbine wind farm in Beulah Township from Davison County Wind, LLC and its parent company Con Edison Development. That decision was made by the five-person board at the Davison County North Offices in Mitchell.
The debate over who gets the towers and the money, and whether the wind farms are right for South Dakota in the first place, has divided communities, estranged families and in some cases pitted neighbor against neighbor.
Wind power is a growing enterprise around the world and by many accounts, this “gold rush” might be coming soon to a county near you.
Lance Koth made it crystal clear that a new grassroots group in Davison County in South Dakota isn't against the concept of wind energy. They just prefer turbines find the right home.
It took two working sessions and eight total hours, but the Codington County Planning Commission finally has revised wind tower ordinances proposals ready to put up to a formal commission vote.
A group of landowners say at least two members of the Deuel County Board of Adjustment that voted to permit a wind energy project in January will profit from it. Fourteen people signed on to a lawsuit in the eastern South Dakota county this week that asks a judge overturn the board’s decision granting those permits.