The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, in a June 4 order, approved a settlement stipulation – with the exception of two proposed conditions – filed in relation to a wind energy facility proposed by Triple H Wind, LLC.
As noted in the order, the commission in February received the facility permit application for an energy facility permit from Triple H Wind, a wholly owned subsidiary of ENGIE North America, Inc.
Triple H proposes to build a wind energy facility to be located in Hyde County, S.D., the commission said, adding that the project will be located on 27,247.5 acres of privately held land, about 3.2 miles southwest of Highmore in the townships of Eagle, Chapelle, Highmore, and Holabird.
The total installed capacity of the project will not exceed 250.24 MW of nameplate capacity, the commission said, noting that the project includes up to 92 wind turbine generators, access roads to turbines and associated facilities, underground 34.5-kV electrical collector lines, underground fiber optic cable, a 34.5-kV to 345-kV collection substation, one permanent meteorological tower, a 345-kV interconnection switching station, a Sonic Detection and Ranging Unit, as well as an operations and maintenance facility.
The project will interconnect to the high-voltage transmission grid via the Leland Olds to Fort Thompson 345-kV transmission line, which crosses the project area, the commission said. Triple H has entered into two 30-year power purchase agreements, one with Walmart for 150 MW and one for 48 MW with a confidential institutional buyer, the commission said, adding that the remaining 52 MW will be sold on a merchant basis.
The project is expected to be completed in 2020, and Triple H estimates the project’s total cost to be $300m, the commission said.
The commission noted that its staff and Triple H on May 21 filed a joint motion for approval of settlement stipulation and a settlement stipulation resolving all issues except for the funding for the decommissioning of the project and the risks associated with ice throw. Also that day, staff filed its memorandum in support of the settlement stipulation.
The commission added that it considered the matter at its regularly scheduled meeting on May 28, finding that the terms and conditions proposed in the settlement stipulation were just, reasonable, as well as in the public interest, and that good and sufficient cause was demonstrated to approve the settlement stipulation, with the exception of proposed conditions 35 and 38.
The commission said that it voted unanimously to grant the joint motion for approval of settlement stipulation and approve the settlement stipulation, with the exception of those two proposed conditions.
The commission noted that an evidentiary hearing will be held at a later date on the remaining issues.
As noted in the stipulation, the terms and conditions of the stipulation include that:
- At least 14 days prior to beginning construction, the company is to provide each participating and non-participating landowner in the project area and one half mile outside the project area, with such information as a copy of the final decision and order granting the permit to construct facilities, with the attached permit conditions
- Within 90 days after the project’s commercial operation date, the company is to submit a report to the commission that provides such information as as-built location of structures and facilities
- The company agrees to undertake a minimum of two years of independently conducted post-construction avian and bat mortality monitoring for the project, and to provide a copy of the report and all further reports to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, as well as the commission
Among other things, the stipulation noted that condition No. 38, for instance, calls for the company to establish a procedure for preventing whooping crane collisions with turbines during operations by establishing and implementing formal plans for monitoring the project site and surrounding area for whooping cranes during spring and fall migration periods throughout the operational life of the project and shutting down turbines and/or construction activities within one mile of whooping crane sightings.