South Dakota PUC

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission approved a construction permit for the Crowned Ridge Wind II Project, a 301-megawatt wind energy facility to be constructed in Codington, Deuel and Grant counties. The action by the commission was taken during its regularly scheduled meeting yesterday, March 17.

PUC staff and Crowned Ridge presented nearly 50 proposed conditions that addressed issues including shadow flicker, ice throw, land restoration, the hiring of a public liaison officer, and decommissioning. Commissioners delved into a lengthy discussion on those and other issues, making changes to proposed conditions and adding new conditions. Some proposed conditions that were changed and added relate to aircraft detection lighting systems, cooperation with agricultural spray applicators, monitoring sound pressure levels, avian and bat mortality monitoring, and monitoring for whooping cranes.

Several of the conditions commissioners imposed were the result of testimony given during a three-day evidentiary hearing held in early February.

Crowned Ridge Wind II plans to construct up to 132 wind turbines and will span approximately 60,996 acres east of Watertown. Currently, the project is expected to be constructed in two phases. The first phase consists of 200 MWs, which the company expects to construct in 2020 and has entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Xcel Energy to sell to Xcel upon commercial operation. The second phase may consist of 100 MWs and is awaiting transmission interconnection study results. The total cost of the project is $425 million.

A public input meeting was held in Watertown in August.