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Tatanka wind farm taking shape; Trucks, cranes pose dangers 

LONG LAKE, S.D. – Construction is expected to be done late this year on the Tatanka wind farm in McPherson County, according to Marcus V. da Cunha of Chicago, an official with Acciona Wind Energy USA, parent company of Tatanka.

The wind farm, which stretches for miles, includes temporary buildings and mobile units that give the impression a new village has sprouted.

Concrete foundations for the towers are in place, and some tower sections and windmill blades lie on the ground awaiting installation.

Tatanka plans to feed the power it generates into the Montana-Dakota Utilities system. The project is slated to produce fewer than 90 megawatts in South Dakota. One megawatt supplies more than 400 homes with the power they need for one hour.

Construction is not under state Public Utilities Commission jurisdiction because the PUC oversees only those projects that will yield 100 megawatts or more.

Another 90 megawatts or less is expected to be produced from Tatanka’s North Dakota towers.

The company plans to hold an open house once construction dangers are over, da Cunha said Monday. Until then, he said people should not drive through the area, even on the public roads.

“It’s no playground,” da Cunha said. “A person can get hurt. It’s not the right time to go there. Drivers of these rigs have huge blind spots.”

Along with the trucks, numerous cranes in the area pose dangers, he said. From 200 to 300 workers are on the site not easily reached by ambulance, he added. “It could be very, very nasty.”

Cell phone coverage is poor, making it difficult to get emergency services, da Cunha said.

Tatanka is a subsidiary of Acciona Wind Energy, which is a unit of Acciona SA, based in Madrid, Spain.

Associated Press


21 August 2007

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