The Brookings County Planning and Zoning Commission last week gave the OK to Nativas Energy to build a 200-megawatt, 100-turbine wind farm southeast of White.
The project in Sherman Township, called the White Wind Farm, already had approval from the state Public Utilities Commission, and the county was Navitas’ last hurdle.
Construction is expected to begin in 2008.
According to figures provided by Joyce Dragseth, director of the Brookings County Equalization office, the project is expected to generate more than $1 million in taxes that will stay in the county every year.
County Planning and Zoning Director Bob Hill said the commission unanimously agreed to approve Navitas’ request for a conditional use permit, with one member absent and another abstaining from the vote because of relatives with land in the area.
No one spoke out against the project at last week’s meeting.
Another request for a conditional use permit on last week’s planning and zoning agenda came from PPM Energy, which has two projects in the works here.
One is the already-permitted MinnDakota wind farm, which will include 100 turbines in Brookings County’s Richland Township and into Minnesota’s Lincoln County.
Turbines for the MinnDakota 150-megawatt project are being built now.
PPM’s second project is the Buffalo Ridge wind farm, just north of Highway 14 along the Minnesota border. The 50-megawatt project in Lake Hendricks and Richland townships won’t be complete and operating until 2008.
Brookings County has already permitted Buffalo Ridge, but it may still need state approval.
Hill said wind projects in the county up to 99 megawatts don’t need state permission, but when PPM’s two wind farms in South Dakota are combined, it could surpass that level.
The conditional use permits PPM asked the county for last week were to put up three meteorological testing towers in Oak Lake Township.
“Before they spend too much money, they want to make sure they have enough wind,” Hill explained.
The sites of the testing towers are northwest of the area planned for the Buffalo Ridge project.
Commission also unanimously approved the permits for the testing towers.
By Jill Fier
15 August 2007
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