New $225 million energy project to boost South Dakota wind power

Source: By KSFY • Posted: Thursday, September 17, 2015

A new $225 million dollar energy project got a jump start earlier today just east of Clear Lake.

It will culminate with the construction of 70 new miles of high voltage transmission line that will not only power homes and businesses but will also boost the state’s economy.

This Capx 2020 project is billed as a game changer for South Dakota energy. Wind energy production here has been somewhat stalled because we have lacked the type of high voltage energy power lines to move electricty from turbines to the people who need it.

“We could become a big producer of wind energy but we gotta be able to move it.” South Dakota Senator John Thune says adding these types of lines puts South Dakota in line to produce more energy which means more jobs. “So having these types of transmission lines built is just absolutely critical.”

This power line project is a joint venture between Otter Tail Energy and Xcel Energy; both companies realize this one project will have a lot of eyes on it. Tessa Mogensen is with Xcel Energy. “This is an opportunity for those that are interested in wind to have a pathway to market for some of that new wind resource.”

Both companies have worked with area landowners to get clearance to build the towers necessary to carry the line from near Big Stone City down to near Brookings.Paul Dummann is one of those landowners. “We’re really excited about the wind farms that have been on hold for the last several years that we can finally get them going.”

Another reason this CapX plan is being viewed as such a good thing; it will even the amount of energy South Dakota uses versus how much power the state produces. South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem tells KSFY News, “It’s a long way to drive anywhere. We have extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter.”

The work on this project is expected to take a solid two years with the line being able to transfer power sometime in the fall of 2017.