PIERRE – On Tuesday the S.D. Public Utilities Commissioners voted to approve a permit, with conditions, for the construction of the Deuel Harvest North Wind Farm, a wind energy facility in Deuel County capable of producing up to 310.1 megawatts of energy.
The proposed project is expected to include up to 112 wind turbines and associated facilities, including a 345-kilovolt transmission line. Deuel Harvest expects to complete the $400 million project, spanning an approximately 48,730-acre project area, in 2020. A buyer for the power produced has not been announced.
PUC staff and Deuel Harvest proposed more than 40 permit conditions that addressed issues including road conditions during construction, habitats of threatened or endangered species, assignment of a public liaison officer, land restoration, shadow flicker, detecting and reacting to ice conditions on turbine blades, and avian and bat mortality.
The commission delved into other proposed conditions and made changes to those dealing with sound levels, cultural resources reporting, aircraft detection lighting systems, decommissioning, and turbine distances relating to both Lake Alice and Homan Air Field.
“The commission has to base its decision on what has been presented in the record and what state law allows us to do,” said PUC Vice Chairman Chris Nelson. “Sometimes the supporting evidence we’d like to see isn’t there, but I think we were able to develop appropriate conditions
A public input meeting was held in Clear Lake in January. A four-day evidentiary hearing was held in Pierre in April.
Parties to the docket included Deuel Harvest Wind Energy, PUC staff and seven intervenors. Intervenors John Homan, Watertown; Jon Henslin, Clear Lake; Will Stone and Heath Stone, Gary; Otter Tail Power Co., and Minnesota residents Christina Kilby, Burnsville; and Garrett Homan, Hermanville, were active participants at the formal hearing.
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