TRIPP – A 600-foot crane was in movement when it tipped over Wednesday at a $297 million wind farm site near Tripp, according to a company official.
The Prevailing Wind Park, scheduled for December completion, is permitted for 61 turbines producing a maximum of 219.6 megawatts. The project will cover about 50,000 acres in Charles Mix, Bon Homme and Hutchinson counties.
sPower, a Salt Lake City-based renewable energy company, is working with the Prevailing Wind project. The crane that tipped over was used for installation of the wind turbines, located north of Avon and southwest of Tripp.
The incident occurred at approximately 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to sPower vice president Peter Pawlowski.
“sPower personnel were made aware that a crane tipped over on the Prevailing Wind Park construction site in Bon Homme County near 293rd Street and 407th Avenue,” he told the Press & Dakotan on Thursday. “The accident occurred while the crane was moving between turbines. There are no reported injuries. This was on private land/cropland, and sPower’s construction manager has spoken to the landowner concerning any impacts to the property.”
Construction manager Scott Creech confirmed the incident Wednesday for the Press & Dakotan. He declined to confirm the crane’s height, which had been listed in some reports as 600 feet tall.
However, Ronnie Hornstra, president of Prevailing Wind LLC, has told the Press & Dakotan that “two (of) the only three mammoth cranes this size in the United States are on the project.”
Creech referred questions on the incident to sPower spokeswoman Lara Hamsher. She confirmed the company was gathering more details on the accident and referred further inquiries to Pawlowski.
sPower has dispatched a crew to the accident site, Pawlowski said.
Bon Homme County Sheriff Mark Maggs told the Press & Dakotan he wasn’t investigating the incident.
sPower officials informed the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of the incident, according to PUC spokeswoman Leah Mohr.
The Press & Dakotan sought comment from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on whether it will investigate the incident or visit the site. The newspaper had not received a response as of Thursday night.
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