S.D. regulators approve wind energy facility, 345-kV line, subject to conditions

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission has granted to Dakota Range III, LLC permits to build a wind energy facility and a 345-kV transmission line, both subject to certain conditions, according to a Feb. 22 order.

As noted in the order, the commission earlier this month voted unanimously to grant a joint motion for approval of settlement stipulation and grant certain requested permits involving an approximately eight-mile, 345-kV interconnection transmission line and an up to 151.2-MW wind energy conversion facility.

As noted in the order, Dakota Range III in October 2018 filed an application with the commission seeking approval to build the line and wind energy conversion facility. The project would be in Grant and Roberts counties in South Dakota, with the wind portion in an 18,717-acre area.

The order also noted that the line would run from the project’s substation located in section 13 of Blooming Valley Township, outside the public right of way (ROW) along 455th Avenue, turning east on Farmington Township’s 150th Street to the Otter Tail Power Company switchyard located in section 14 of Mazeppa Township.

The project is expected to be in service by Dec. 31, 2020, with a total of up to 42 wind turbines and associated facilities.

The order added that Dakota Range III estimates the total cost of the proposed project to be about $200m.

Dakota Range III and regulatory staff on Feb. 7 filed a joint motion for approval of a settlement stipulation, a settlement stipulation, and “Attachment 1 to the settlement stipulation. The order also said that the commission, at its regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 15, considered whether to grant the joint motion for approval of settlement stipulation.

“Having thoroughly reviewed the filings in the docket, the commission found that the terms and conditions proposed in the application, subject to the conditions in the settlement stipulation, were properly filed and demonstrated the project meets” certain requirements, the order said.  

According to the settlement stipulation, Dakota Range III will obtain all governmental permits that reasonably may be required by any township, county, state or federal agency, or any other governmental unit for construction and operation activity of the project prior to engaging in the particular activity covered by that permit.

The settlement stipulation also calls for Dakota Range III to negotiate road use agreements with Grant and Roberts counties and all affected townships, if required.

In addition, the settlement stipulation calls for Dakota Range III to promptly report to the commission the presence of any critical habitat of threatened or endangered species in the project area that Dakota Range III becomes aware of and that was not previously reported to the commission.

Among other things, the stipulation settlement also calls for Dakota Range III to be able to adjust structures so long as they remain within the 150-foot-wide ROW identified in the application, impacts to cultural resources and sensitive habitat are avoided, and wetland impacts are avoided.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 2807 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 13 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 corinar@pennwell.com.