Wind power in Codington County was the main topic Tuesday morning during the Codington County Board of Commissioners meeting at the courthouse.
Mark Mauersberger, representing the Dakota Range Wind project being conducted by Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, Va., gave a presentation about the potential of constructing wind towers in Codington, Grant and Roberts counties in South Dakota.
The presentation was a preliminary discussion on how wind power could benefit the area. The exact amount of towers that would be built in Codington County under the project is still unknown, according to Mauersberger.
“The initial phase will be just south of 100 towers. That includes some of Grant County as well,” said Mauersberger. “We are still trying to pinpoint the exact spots for all the towers. We’re doing wind studies right now to figure that out.”
Mauersberger said his team has been in contact with several land owners in the area about the construction of towers. He also said a number of studies must be completed before moving forward. Some of those studies include how wildlife would be affected and where wetlands are located.
Mauersberger did provide a layered map that included areas where towers would not be built, which included areas that were of cultural sensitivity or areas that landowners have requested no towers to be built on for other reasons.
The location of where the project could begin is also yet to be determined. It could start in Codington County or further north, too. He said typical setbacks all depend on the level of cultural sensitivity and that it’s usually just under a quarter mile for houses.
“The locations and tower heights aren’t known yet,” said Mauersberger. “I will be able to give you those later.”
When asked about the noise of the towers, Mauersberger said he’s been in front of many towers and that the newer machines are pretty quiet. He did encourage anyone interested in the noise factor to visit some of the towers in the area right now and listen for themselves.
As far as the process goes for construction of the towers, Mauersberger said there will be several meetings in the future as the process moves along.
“We’ve had many, many meetings with land owners, including one last week at BitterSweet Lodge (in Summit). Other than the Punished Woman Lake Association, we haven’t had any people address concerns yet,” said Mauersberger. “I expect more people to voice their concerns once we get the permit process going and we are happy to meet with people about their concerns.”
In other county business:
• The commissioners heard monthly reports from auditor Cindy Brugman and Director of Equalization Shawna Constant.
• The commissioners approved bids for chemicals for the Weed and Pest Department.
• The board approved the financial advisor proposal by Dougherty for the justice facilities bond issue. Commissioners Lee Gabel and Charlie Waterman interviewed two of the three companies who submitted proposals and recommended Dougherty for the job.
• Gabel also made it known that the next Codington County Justice Advisory Committee (CCJAC) meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at Lake Area Technical Institute in Room 430.
The commissioners will next meet on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 9 a.m. at the courthouse instead of their usual Tuesday morning meeting.
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