SIOUX FALLS – Xcel Energy Wednesday morning announced its intention to build a 300-megawatt wind farm, called Dakota Range I and Dakota Range II, 20 miles north of Watertown.
Developed by Apex Clean Energy of Charlottesville, VA, the wind farm will be located on a 40,000-acre site. Xcel said it will be the first publicly announced wind project to advance under the phase down of federal tax credits.
“Even without the full tax credit, the project’s cost is low enough to compete with other fuel sources, an investment that is expected to lower customer bills over the project’s life,” according to Xcel Energy’s press release.
Xcel, based out of Minneapolis, says when completed, the project would provide enough power for 157,000 homes in the Upper Midwest.
Two other proposed wind projects in northeast South Dakota have run into opposition from local property owners. Flying Cow Wind, which would have been built in Deuel County, was rejected by Deuel County Commissioners. Crocker Wind Farm in northwest Clark County is currently in the courts after Clark County Commissioners changed the setbacks for each of the planned 200 towers to three-quarters of a mile.
Xcel claims its proposed project will create between 150 and 300 jobs and, when completed, will have 11 full-time employees.
Xcel says the project will be in service by 2021, “pending state and local regulatory and permit approvals.”
In February, Apex Clean Energy gave a presentation on the Dakota Wind project to the Codington County Commissioners. Mark Mauersberger of Apex told the commissioners the towers would eventually be constructed in Codington, Grant and Roberts County.
“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, in February, said that Apex representatives were having discussions with landowners about the use of their land for tower placement.
“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.”
Today’s Xcel press release claims that over the life of the project, Dakota Range is expected to generate $37 million in property taxes and $62 million in landowner payments.
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