Company applies to build 68-turbine, $261 million wind project in northeast SD

Source: By SETH TUPPER, South Dakota Searchlight • Posted: Monday, July 8, 2024

Wind turbines spin against the setting sun just north of Watertown along Interstate 29. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

Wind turbines spin against the setting sun just north of Watertown along Interstate 29. (Makenzie Huber/South Dakota Searchlight)

An energy company has applied to construct another wind farm in northeastern South Dakota.

The company is Chicago-based Invenergy. It wants to build up to 68 turbines through its South Dakota subsidiary, Deuel Harvest Wind Energy South. The turbines would be spread across 54 square miles of privately owned land near the small town of Brandt in Deuel County. The project’s estimated cost is $621 million.

The “south” in the project’s name distinguishes it from the 109-turbine Deuel Harvest Wind Farm, which Invenergy completed in 2021 and sold to Atlanta-based Southern Power.

Top wind energy states

States with the most installed wind energy capacity, in megawatts:

  1. Texas, 37,172
  2. Oklahoma, 11,790
  3. Iowa, 10,014
  4. Kansas, 8,796
  5. Illinois, 7,665
  6. California, 6,194
  7. Colorado, 4,844
  8. Minnesota, 4,184
  9. New Mexico, 4,024
  10. Michigan, 3,768
  11. North Dakota, 3,665
  12. Nebraska, 3,519
  13. South Dakota, 3,462

Source: American Wind Power Association

The new project would be located about six miles south of the existing Deuel Harvest wind farm. Another wind farm, Tatanka Ridge, is adjacent to the southwest edge of the proposed project area. If the new project is approved and built, it would raise the number of wind turbines in Deuel County to 233.

The new project could deliver up to 250 megawatts of electricity. South Dakota ranks 13th in the nation with 3,462 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, according to the American Wind Power Association.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission issued a public notice Wednesday about Invenergy’s application. People with a direct interest in the project have until Aug. 27 to apply for “intervenor” status, which would allow them to participate in hearings, file motions, request facts or documents, and engage in other aspects of the permitting process.

The new application says Invenergy will not use eminent domain, which is a legal procedure to obtain land from unwilling landowners.

“South Deuel Wind has entered into long-term, voluntary lease and easement agreements for the placement of Project Facilities with private landowners within the Project Area,” the application says.

Invenergy estimates the project will generate payments to landowners totaling $78 million over the next 30 years, and property tax revenue generated for local governments will total $38 million during the same period. The project is expected to create 243 jobs during construction and eight long-term operational jobs.

While Invenergy was working on its previous project, some local residents challenged special exception permits issued to the company by Deuel County. The permits were ultimately upheld by the state Supreme Court.