South Dakota PUC grants construction permit to wind energy facility

Source: By Chris Galford, Daily Energy Insider • Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Triple H Wind facility is set to begin construction following permit approval by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

The facility — set to generate up to 250.54 megawatts — had been approved earlier in May. Some outstanding issues required a further evidentiary hearing, which was resolved in June, leading to this month’s final decision. In all, the facility will be bound by 41 conditions during both construction and operation, including land restoration efforts, certain sound levels, and potential impacts to the whooping cranes and ice throw in the area.

During the process, Triple H had sought to have the timeline for notification of landowners and the commission changed. The commission denied that request, sticking instead to a 14-day requirement for landowners and a 30-day requirement for the commission.

“From my standpoint, I like to honor precedents and I prefer consistency,” PUC Chairman Gary Hanson said. “We know that there are timelines that work for us and I dislike experimenting with them. I understand the need to complete the project during one construction season, but we also need to ensure we provide proper notice to landowners and allow adequate time for citizens and communities to prepare.”

The project will be located 3.2 miles southwest of Highmore, S.D., and consist of as many as 92 wind turbines. The power generated with supply Walmart with 150 megawatts of energy while 48 megawatts will be sold to a confidential institutional buyer. The remaining 52 megawatts will be left for other merchants. Estimates put the final costs at around $300 million.

“The public input meeting for this particular wind farm was unlike most that we go to,” Nelson said. “It was clear that the applicant had done the legwork with folks in the area when they came out to support the project. That goes a long way toward telling us that things have been taken care of.”

Construction is expected to begin this summer and should complete sometime next year.