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State regulators want a look-back at results from Crowned Ridge wind project’s sound study

A facility to turn wind into electricity in northeastern South Dakota that state regulators permitted in 2019 must do another study this fall on how much sound from its 87 turbines can be heard at several homes in the project area.

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission ordered Crowned Ridge in Grant and Codington counties to take a second look.

The decision comes after an outside consultant for the commission reviewed the company’s results from last fall at six locations.

He determined that three of the test sites were 100% within maximum levels the commission set in the project’s permit but three others exceeded levels 4% of the time during the three-week test.

The commissioners last week told the project’s developer to run a second test this fall at the three sites that were out of compliance and at a fourth location.

“We may or may not be done with this issue. We don’t know,” commission chairman Chris Nelson said.

He said NextEra Energy presented “a reasonable plan” to follow up, adopted software to reduce noise and had agreements with at least two of the affected landowners.

“That remains to be seen whether additional action needs to be taken,” Nelson said.

Attorneys Miles Schumacher of Sioux Falls and Brian Murphy for the Florida-based developer wanted commissioners to agree that the commission wouldn’t take any additional action regarding the exceedances, other than requiring the follow-up.

Commission attorney Karen Cremer said their request wasn’t surprising. “You might as well as shoot for it and you get what you get,” she said.