Lyman County Commissioners approved construction permits for three 60 meter high meteorological towers to be installed north and east of Reliance in Fairland and Lafayette township and the South Unorganized Township T106N, R72W, which is located on the Lower Brule Sioux Reservation. The properties are privately owned.
Scot Pulse, a right of way specialist from Ulteig Engineers, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, requested the permits on behalf of Iberdrola Renewables at the July 15 Lyman County Commission meeting. The commissioners were told a wind farm consisting of 120 wind turbines is being proposed. When contacted for more information regarding a proposed wind farm in Lyman County Tim Seck, Director of Wind Development at Iberdrola did not want to make a statement at this time. According to Iberdrola’s website, the company has set a goal to double its electricity capacity in the United States, mainly through wind, by 2010. It is currently involved in Wind Farms in Minnesota and several other states.
The test area is located along the bluffs on the western side of the Missouri River. The test towers will be erected in an area that has been through an initial testing period resulting in data found to be favorable, according to land owner Brad Karlen.
Karlen installed several test towers on his land north of Reliance near Medicine Butte in February of 2006. Since that time the weather data collected has been recorded and sent to at least six different wind farm developers that Karlen has been in contact with including Western Area Power Administration (WAPA).
The wind test site is located south of the Fort Thompson substation, one of the biggest in the state, according to Joe Connot of West Central Electric Cooperative.
Currently two large wind farms are in operation on the eastern side of the Missouri River, one in Brule County and one in Hyde County.
The possibility for wind farm development is much more competitive on the east side of the River. “The logistics of getting the power generated to the substation is much better,” said Karlen.
By Lucy Halverson
30 July 2008