November 6, 2007
Minnesota, South Dakota

Two wind farms may proceed without permit from S.D. regulators

A company that’s building wind farms in Brookings County does not need permits from the state Public Utilities Commission.

The PUC made that decision Tuesday, agreeing with PPM Energy of Portland, Ore., that it is building two wind farms in the county and not one.

PPM lawyer Brett Koenecke said turbines of the MinnDakota wind farm, which sprawls into adjoining Lincoln County, Minn., will produce 54 megawatts in Brookings County, and the Buffalo Ridge wind farm will produce 55 megawatts in South Dakota.

A single wind farm exceeding 100 megawatts would need a PUC permit.

The Buffalo Ridge and MinnDakota projects will share some equipment, but they are separate wind farms, Koenecke said. The three-member commission unanimously agreed.

The commissioners noted that Brookings County officials have closely regulated the siting and construction of the wind farms.

The MinnDakota project is expected to begin churning out electricity next month, making it the largest wind farm in South Dakota.

The biggest wind farm now is an FPL Energy turbine field that began operating four years ago in Hyde County. The South Dakota Wind Energy Center has 27 turbines and a capacity of 40 megawatts.

FPL Energy is headquartered in Juno Beach, Fla.

By Joe Kafka
Associated Press Writer

6 November 2007

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