BELLE FOURCHE – Butte County commissioners approved a zoning ordinance for the siting of wind energy systems Dec. 2.
With a proposed $210 million wind farm near Newell, the county needed a guiding document.
The purpose of the ordinance is to ensure that the placement, construction and modification of a wind energy facility is consistent with the county’s land use policies, to minimize the impact of the facilities, to establish a fair and efficient process for review and approval of applications, to assure a comprehensive review of environmental impact of such facilities, and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the county’s citizens, according to the ordinance.
Wind Quarry Operations, LLC, of Colorado proposed the construction of the Willow Creek Wind Energy Facility with it’s 45 wind turbines, access roads, operations and maintenance facility, collector substation and associated transmission interconnection facilities would be constructed on approximately 40,000 acres of privately-owned land 10 miles northeast of Newell. Construction of the 103-megawatt wind farm will include the wind turbines and will interconnect to a 115-kilovolt transmission line owned by the Western Area Power Administration.
The S.D. Public Utility Commission approved the wind farm’s construction permit Nov. 12.
The project’s purpose is to generate utility scale electric power for commercial and residential industry, and would interconnect to the U.S. Department of Energy Western Area Power Administration Maurine to Rapid City, according to S.D. PUC. A brief description of the project is available for review at www.puc.sd.gov.
In addition to the requirements set forth by the S.D. Public Utilities Commission, a building permit for each of the 45 turbines will need to be purchased through the Butte County Office of Equalization.
Construction of the wind farm and associated substation could begin this month and be operational as early as December 2017.
According to the National Renewal Energy Laboratory, South Dakota ranks fourth in the nation for potential to generate energy from wind.
No members of the public voiced any concerns regarding the ordinance.
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