South Dakota Public Utilities Commission approves construction permit for Dakota Range III wind energy project

Published on February 20, 2019 by Kevin Randolph

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The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) recently approved the construction of a new wind energy facility, the Dakota Range III, and transmission line to be built in Grant and Roberts counties.

The project will consist of up to 42 wind turbines with a combined capacity of up to 151.2 megawatts (MW) of energy. The company will also construct an eight-mile 345-kV transmission line associated with the project.

The settlement stipulation includes 42 conditions Dakota Range must meet during the construction, reclamation, operation and potential decommissioning of the project. The conditions address factors including noise levels, turbine blade ice detection, aircraft detection lighting and shadow flicker.

“I applaud the efficiency of the commission staff working with Dakota Range to vet, analyze, and negotiate the myriad components of this docket,” PUC Chairman Gary Hanson said. “There were no formal opponents to this project, so we did not have a contested-case evidentiary hearing. Those hearings significantly impact the activity required during the statutory six-month timeline for the PUC to decide wind energy cases.”

Dakota Range filed its wind energy facility and transmission application with the commission on Oct. 26, 2018. The PUC held a public input hearing on Dec. 19.

“I greatly appreciated the citizens of this area who spoke at our public input meeting regarding their views of how this wind farm will impact their community,” PUC Vice Chairman Chris Nelson said. “Citizen input helped move this application process to the conclusion we have today.”

Dakota Range expects the wind facility to enter service by the end of 2020 and estimates the total cost of the project to be approximately $200 million.