Invenergy affiliate seeks approval in South Dakota for wind farm, transmission line

Invenergy LLC affiliate Deuel Harvest Wind Energy LLC on Nov. 30 filed with the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission an application for energy facility permits regarding the Deuel Harvest North Wind Farm wind energy conversion facility and a 345-kV transmission line with associated 345-kV interconnection substation to be located entirely within Deuel County, S.D.

The project would have a nameplate capacity of up to 310.1 MW and would include construction of up to 112 turbines, according to the application, which was prepared for Deuel Harvest by Burns & McDonnell Engineering Company, Inc.

The project would be located entirely in the townships of Portland, Lowe, Altamont, Glenwood, and Herrick, with the project area encompassing about 48,730 acres, 41,980 of which are under lease for the project.

Deuel Harvest also said that it is negotiating a generator interconnection agreement (GIA) with Otter Tail Power and the Midcontinent ISO (MISO). The GIA requests a project in-service date in 4Q20, Deuel Harvest said, adding that project construction would need to begin by 4Q19 to meet an in-service date in 4Q20.

Deuel Harvest also said that the project would interconnect to the regional electric grid along the Big Stone to Brookings 345-kV transmission line via the new 345-kV interconnection substation to be located in Glenwood Township, and be able to deliver 300 MW of electricity.

The interconnection substation would be built by Deuel Harvest or Otter Tail Power, and would be owned, as well as operated, by Otter Tail Power.

The transmission facility is wholly within the project area, less than 2,640 feet long, and does not require the use of eminent domain. However, it does cross a section line and therefore may be considered a transmission facility, Deuel Harvest added.

Deuel Harvest noted that it began developing the project in mid-2015 with initial landowner outreach, establishment of a local office on Main Street in Clear Lake, S.D., and the construction of three meteorological (MET) towers to verify, as well as quantify, the strong wind resource in the area. Leasing, stakeholder outreach, engineering, and additional project development activities have continued through this year.

Deuel Harvest also said that it does not have a purchase agreement or off-take agreement for the project, but is in discussions with interested parties.

Discussing potential impacts, Deuel Harvest said that about 722 acres of temporary disturbance is expected during the construction of the project, 68 acres of which will be permanent. Most land proposed to be affected by construction of the project is cropland or grassland. Deuel Harvest also said that best management practices (BMPs) would be implemented to avoid or reduce impacts to the vegetation and water resources of the project area during construction. Since the project avoids impacts to federal lands, no federal nexus exists for the project that would require NEPA review.

Deuel Harvest also said that six species listed as threatened or endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act have the potential to occur in the project area, including the northern long-eared bat. Wildlife studies and coordination with the USFWS and SDGFP determined the project to have a low risk of impacts to threatened or endangered species, Deuel Harvest said.

Additional avoidance and minimization measures proposed for the project include:

  • Wind turbines would be illuminated as required by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations and would employ an Aircraft Detection Lighting System, subject to availability and FAA approval
  • Deuel Harvest would meet or exceed setbacks, conditions, and siting standards required by state and local governing bodies
  • The transmission facility – interconnection substation and transmission line – would result in 2.5 acres of permanent impacts

Among other things, Deuel Harvest said that the current estimated capital cost of the project – including the wind farm and transmission facility – is about $400m, based on indicative construction and wind turbine pricing cost estimates for the proposed turbine layout. The wind farm has a current estimated capital cost of $387m, and the transmission facility has a current estimated capital cost of $13m. Deuel Harvest also said that ongoing O&M costs and administrative costs are estimated to be about $8.5m per year, including payments to landowners for wind lease and easement rights, as well as taxes related to the capacity and generation of the project.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3058 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 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.