Next wind project to start this year
Credit: By J.T. Fey, Public Opinion Staff Writer | Watertown Public Opinion | Mar 17, 2020 | www.thepublicopinion.com ~~
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Codington County commissioners got their first look at the latest wind farm that will be constructed in Codington and Grant counties in the months ahead.
Tim Carlsgaard of Xcel Energy brought maps that showed where 72 wind towers will be placed, with 54 going into Grant County and 18 into Codington. The maps also showed all leased properties as well as the transmission lines that will carry the power out of South Dakota and to points east.
Xcel purchased the project from Apex Energy.
Each of the towers is capable of outputting 3.5 megawatts of energy and is working 40 to 50 percent of the time, Carlsgaard said. The towers have 30-year leases.
Carlsgaard said preliminary work will be done this summer with actual construction starting in the fall. The project will sit idle through the winter, and tower erection is expected to start in the spring of 2021 and be completed later in the year.
The towers will be located along the northern third of Codington County, and for the first time there will be towers on the west side of Interstate 29.
Carlsgaard said 200 workers are expected to be employed and 10 will be hired fulltime to manage the project once completed. Robert Stanley is the project manager.
One difference in this project, Carlsgaard noted, is that property owners who signed leases will receive quarterly payments regardless of where a tower sits on their property. Those who are hosting towers will get additional revenue.
The commissioners voted 4-1 against the county paying $1,000 a year for three years for a display at the Watertown Optimists Club’s Winter Wonderland at Stokes-Thomas Lake City Park. Commissioner Myron Johnson put the vote on the agenda and was the only supporter.
The commissioners heard from John Tangren of the Optimists Club before voting. All the commissioners praised the Optimists for their efforts and donating the money they raise on worthwhile projects. The four commissioners voting no, however, said the county should not be using taxpayer dollars to pay for a display.
Facilities Manager Steve Molengraaf briefed commissioners on measures his department is taking because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the steps are the periodic wiping down of handrails and door handles as well as the posting of signs on county policy.
Molengraaf hopes to soon began interviewing for the manager position at Memorial Park. He said park reservations are being taken, and a recent glitch caused overbooking on same dates. Some people will not be able to camp on dates they thought they had reserved.
Highway Superintendent Rick Hartley said his crews have been crack sealing paved county roads. He also stated that only two roads have gone under water as the spring melt proceeds. Load limits are now in effect on all county roads.
Hartley also said the rebuilding of a bridge on County Road 4 will cost $926,449, which was $137,000 more than the state estimated. The county will pay 20 percent of the cost.
The commissioners voted 5-0 to seek requests for proposal from food services interested in providing meals at the Codington County Detention Center. Sheriff Brad Howell said preliminary estimates show the county could be saving “some pretty good bucks” by using a food service.
In other actions the commission:
• Voted 5-0 to begin advertising for the county’s Veterans Services Officer position. All candidates must be veterans with honorable discharges. Commissioner Myron Johnson said their are more than 2,000 veterans registered at the VSO and all veterans bring more than $13 million in revenue into the county.
• Voted 5-0 to hire an assistant weed supervisor. The position is at no extra cost because Molengraaf is now the weed supervisor and facilities manager. The new hire will help manage the weed department.
• Voted 5-0 to enter into an agreement with the S.D. Department of Transportation for an emergency relief project on County Road 23-5 south of Tinkertown. The road is again in danger of being inundated.
• Voted 5-0 to accept the resignation of Jeff Hershman who has worked at the CCDC for many years. He is retiring.
• Voted to approve a plat resolution submitted by Stan and Donna Busskohl in Richland Township.
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