Triple H seeks approval in South Dakota for wind project

A public input hearing will be held on March 19 in Highmore, S.D., regarding the proposed Triple H Wind Project, according to the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission’s website.

Triple H Wind Project, LLC recently filed with the commission an application for an energy facility permit to build and operate the project, which would have a total installed capacity not to exceed 250.24 MW and would include the construction of up to 92 turbines.

The project is located entirely within Hyde County in the Public Land Survey System (PLSS) townships of Eagle, Chapelle, Highmore, and Holabird, about 3.2 miles southwest of Highmore. The project would be located on privately held land within a project area that encompasses about 27,247.5 acres, Triple H added.

Along with the wind turbine generators, project components would include:

  • Access roads to turbines and associated facilities
  • Underground 34.5-kV electrical collector lines connecting the turbines to the collection substation
  • Underground fiber-optic cable for turbine communications collocated with the collector lines
  • A 34.5-kV to 345-kV collection substation
  • A 345-kV interconnection switching station
  • One permanent meteorological (MET) tower
  • A sonic detection and ranging (SoDAR) unit
  • An operations and maintenance (O&M) facility
  • Additional temporary construction areas, including crane paths, public road improvements, laydown yard/staging area and concrete batch plant(s), as needed

Triple H also said that the project would interconnect to the high-voltage transmission grid via the Leland Olds to Fort Thompson 345-kV transmission line, which crosses the project area. A new 345-kV interconnection switching station connecting to the Leland Olds to Fort Thompson line would be built, owned, and operated by Basin Electric Power Cooperative. Basin Electric would build and own a 345-kV interconnection facility connecting a new collection substation and the interconnection switching station, Triple H added, noting that that approximate 500-foot-long transmission interconnection would be located wholly within the project area.

Triple H said that since the interconnection facility is an approximately 500-foot-long, 345-kV transmission line, does not cross any public highways, and does not require the use of eminent domain, it does not require a permit from the commission, and would be permitted locally.

Triple H noted that the purpose of the project is to generate electricity to supply the needs required for contracts with Triple H, which has entered into two 30-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) – one with Walmart for 150 MW and one for 48 MW with a confidential institutional buyer; the remaining 52 MW would be sold on a merchant basis.

The project must be built by the end of 2020 to receive 2.5 cents per kWh production tax credit (PTC), Triple H said, adding that if the project does not reach operation until 2021 or later, it would not qualify for 100% of the PTC. Triple H also said that the PTC per kilowatt hour will decrease by 20% each year until the project is placed in service.

Among other things, Triple H said that the current estimated capital cost of the project is about $290m to $300m based on indicative construction and wind turbine pricing cost estimates for the proposed turbine layout. That estimate includes lease acquisition and permitting, engineering, procurement and construction of turbines, access roads, underground electrical collector system, project collection substation, interconnection facilities, an O&M facility, a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system, one permanent MET tower, and project financing.

As noted in the application, Triple H is a wholly owned subsidiary of ENGIE North America, Inc.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3286 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares was TransmissionHub’s chief editor until August 2021, as well as part of the team that established TransmissionHub in 2011. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial from 2005 to 2011. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines.