Wind Tower

The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission voted on Tuesday to approve the construction of the Tatanka Ridge Wind Project to be built in Deuel County. The decision allows Tatanka Ridge to move forward with plans to construct a wind energy facility capable of generating up to 155 megawatts of energy near the towns of Toronto and Brandt, South Dakota.

A settlement agreement presented by Tatanka Ridge and PUC staff was previously accepted by the commission in October. Issues not addressed in the settlement – funding for decommissioning, risk associated with ice throw, cumulative sound impacts, and the potential impacts to whooping cranes – were presented at an evidentiary hearing in Pierre on Nov. 4. The commission’s action this week was to rule on those issues and determine if a permit should be granted.

The proposed wind project will span a 27,900-acre project area and include up to 56 wind turbines.

Tatanka Ridge’s permit will include over 40 conditions that must be adhered to during the construction and operation of the project. Ice throw, land restoration, sound level, shadow flicker, the potential impacts to whooping cranes and future decommissioning of the project are all among the details the conditions address.

Tatanka Ridge Wind filed its application with the PUC on June 17, 2019. The PUC held a public input meeting in Toronto on Aug. 7.

The company expects to complete construction on the $216 million project in 2020. Tatanka Ridge has entered into agreements with two buyers for the electricity produced by the project, one with Google for 98 megawatts and one with Dairyland Power Cooperative for the balance.