MidAmerican Energy won a favorable ruling from South Dakota regulators Tuesday for its wind turbines already spinning – but in Iowa.
It means the company can pursue a second set of production tax credits from the federal government for up to 706 locations.
The ‘re-powering’ plan calls for MidAmerican Energy to invest more than $1.3 billion installing longer blades, new gearboxes and other equipment.
That’s according to presentations that company officials made to South Dakota Public Utilities Commission members and staff in the Sept. 29, 2017, application and data filings since then.
Commission analyst Pat Steffensen recommended approval Tuesday. He agreed South Dakota ratepayers would save about $1.7 million through 2029.
MidAmerican sells electricity in Alcester, Dakota Dunes, Fairview, Hudson, Jefferson, and North Sioux City.
A 2015 federal law allowed companies to seek production tax credits on existing wind turbines for an additional ten years under certain circumstances.
MidAmerican Energy chief financial officer Tom Specketer said the company expects electricity production to increase 19 to 26 percent using the same 1.5 megawatt-turbines.
“With the longer blades it would effectively catch more wind and we would have more output. The maximum output doesn’t change,” Specketer said.
Managers of the shared system that collects power from various producers has a maximum of megawatts it will carry for MidAmerican, he said.
In other action Tuesday, the commissioners:
Approved a maximum fee of $120,000 and called for $8,000 initially for processing an application for the Crowned Ridge transmission line and related facilities in Codington and Grant counties. The project connecting proposed wind farms to the Big Stone South electricity substation would cost an estimated $40 million.
Denied a request from Consolidated Edison Development to accept an avoided-cost rate of $26.91 per megawatt for electricity the company wants to sell NorthWestern Energy from turbines proposed in Brule, Aurora and Davison counties.
Con Ed wanted the ruling without findings of fact and conclusions of law. The commission instead requested a final order using $26.91 including findings of fact and conclusions of law.
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