S.D. regulators to hold public input hearing in September on wind project, line

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will hold a public input hearing on Sept. 13 in Clark, S.D., regarding the Crocker Wind Farm, LLC application, which includes a 345-kV transmission line.

As noted in the commission’s Aug. 7 filing, Crocker Wind Farm on July 25 filed its application for an energy facility permit and the line to build the Crocker Wind Farm, a wind energy facility located on about 29,331 acres of privately owned land in Clark County, S.D., about eight miles north of Clark.

The proposed projects include up to 200 wind turbines, associated access roads, a new collector substation, an operations and maintenance facility, and associated 345-kV transmission in Clark County. The commission added that the projects would result in the installation of about 6.5 miles of overhead transmission line that would be wholly located within the wind farm’s boundary.

The transmission line route would run from a substation in Section 30 of Township 119N, Range 58W to the Point-of-Interconnect (POI), which is located about two miles north of the town of Crocker in Section 9 of Township 119N, Range 58W.

The commission also said that two routing options from the substation in Section 30 are under consideration, adding that at the POI, the power would transfer to the Basin Electric Groton-to-Watertown 345-kV transmission line, part of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP)/Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) transmission line portfolio in Clark County.

The projects would generate utility-scale electric power for residential, commercial, and industrial consumers, the commission said.

According to the application, Crocker Wind Farm is a wholly owned subsidiary Geronimo Energy, LLC.

Crocker Wind Farm said that it proposes to build and operate some of the facilities on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) grassland easement land. Therefore, the USFWS is preparing an environmental assessment (EA) for the project in accordance with the applicable requirements and standards of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the company said. The EA will tier off of the analysis conducted in the Upper Great Plains Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS), prepared jointly by WAPA and the USFWS, the company said.

The PEIS assesses environmental impacts associated with wind energy development and identifies management practices to address impacts, while the EA for the project will focus on site-specific issues that are not already addressed in sufficient detail in the PEIS, the company said.

The project is being proposed in order to meet the growing demand for energy production from environmentally friendly and renewable sources, the company said. The specific project location was selected after a series of wind resource, transmission, and environmental fatal flaw analyses indicated that the project area could support a wind farm with up to 200 turbines, the company said.

The project is not expected to have significant impacts on the environment, the company said. Certain measures will be used to avoid and minimize potential impacts to land of the project area during siting, construction, and operation, to the extent practicable, including avoiding disturbance of wetlands during construction and operation of the project, as well as designing the project to minimize the need to clear existing trees and shrubs, the company said.

Regarding capital and operational costs, the company said that the total installed capital costs for the wind farm are estimated to be about $1.5m per MW, with project cost depending on project size and other variables including wind turbines. Ongoing operations and maintenance costs, as well as administrative costs, are estimated to be about $6.5m to $7.5m per year, including payments to landowners for wind lease and easement rights.

The total installed capital costs for the transmission line are estimated to be about $6m, with ongoing operations and maintenance costs, as well as administrative costs, estimated to be about $100,000 per year, including payments to landowners for easement rights, the company added.

Among other things, the company said that it anticipates that the project would begin commercial operation by 4Q19, noting that the commercial operation date is dependent on the completion of the interconnection process, permitting and other development activities.

The commission noted in its filing that applications for party status must be received by Sept. 25, and that after the public input hearing, it may schedule a formal evidentiary hearing to consider any issues raised by any intervening party, the commission’s staff, or the commission itself.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2850 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 14 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.