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Local Landowners Propose Large Wind Farm in Southern Lincoln County, South Dakota

Wind turbines spin at a windpark
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

A large wind farm project is being proposed in southern Lincoln County, South Dakota. A local group, led by local landowners called Dakota Power Community Wind, has announced preliminary steps to create 1,000 megawatts of wind generated power. If completed as proposed it will be the largest project of its kind in our state.

The group acknowledges the complexity of the endeavor. Commitments for 50 year easements to erect the turbines from nearly 60 land owners is one of the first steps. Meetings are being held early next week to get a feel for the level of interest. Without  commitments covering several thousand acres, the project will not happen.

There are numerous assessments to be completed covering topics, including birds and bats, endangered species, vegetation, cultural and archaeology, and a full environmental impact study.

Another key component will be the construction of the Rock Island Clean Line. A direct current transmission line starting in O’Brien County, Iowa and ending near Joliet, Illinois. Clean Line Energy Partners of Houston, Texas are developing that project.

According to Dakota Power Community Wind, a plan and money will have to be gathered to fund the building of a direct current transmission line from the wind farm in Lincoln County, approximately 60 miles east to the beginning of the Rock Island Clean Line.

Dakota Wind is using the expertise of Dakota Plains Energy from Aberdeen to assist in moving this project forward. Dakota Plains is currently working on the Campbell County wind project north of Mobridge.

The first visible signs of the project will be the placement of wind meters in the area to confirm computer created data on wind speed, intensity, and duration. Key data to have before the project can proceed.

The group estimates it will take several years to complete the various studies, secure easements, funding, secure a power purchase agreement, select a wind turbine vendor and contractor to build the infrastructure, and connect to the transmission line.

The leaders of Dakota Power, Paul Shubeck, and Beresford Mayor Jim Fedderson touted taxes to be collected both short and long term, income for farmers with turbines on their property, and both the construction and long term operational jobs. Less dependence on fossil fuels to create energy was also featured.

There are several positive aspects of this project:

  • It is being led by local people.
  • It is bold and creative.
  • It is being developed in southeastern South Dakota.
  • It helps relieve stress on the national power grid with clean energy.
  • It creates long term high tech jobs in rural Lincoln County.
  • It creates non-government revenue for farmers and taxes for the state, county, local school districts and townships.

I admire the local people proposing this project. Rather than sitting around waiting for something to happen from the outside, these people are taking action locally to create this project for themselves and us.

For more information on Dakota Power Community Wind, contact Nick Fosheim, Lincoln County Economic Development Association, 605-339-0103

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