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Windfarm Proposed In Western SD

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Chynna Lockett
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A new wind farm has been proposed for South Dakota. Wind Quarry is a Wyoming based wind development company.  It requested a building permit for a 45 turbine wind farm near Newell. If approved, this is the first wind farm in western South Dakota.

The Public Utilities Commission, or PUC, is considering a permit for the Willow Creek Wind Energy project. The project will cost an estimated $210 million to build and create as many as 300 temporary jobs.

Chris Nelson is a PUC chairman. He says the PUC board has to consider the effects of the wind farm before they receive a permit.  

 “There’s a set of criteria in state law that we have to look at to make sure that if the wind far is built that it won’t have a negative impact on the health, the safety, the welfare, the economy of the area, those kinds of things. We’ll be analyzing that and then we will make a decision to either grant the permit, deny the permit, or grant the permit and attach some conditions to it saying if you build, here are some specific things that you need to comply with,” says Nelson.

The wind farm would have 103 megawatts of capacity, enough to supply roughly 30 thousand homes with power for a year. The farm would stretch across 40 thousand acres of private land.

 “The transition line that they have succeeded in acquiring access to is a, it’s called a whoppa line, that goes from Rapid City off to the northeast to a small town in northwestern South Dakota by the name of Maurine. So it’s called the Rapid City to Maurine line,” Nelson says.

Nelson says the proposing company is yet to find a buyer for the electricity that would be produced.