Wind Energy Company Pays 30K For Permit Violation

May 15, 2019

A wind energy company is paying the maximum fine for starting construction earlier than the permit allows.

During a public utilities commission meeting on Tuesday, Prevailing Wind Park agreed to pay $30,000 in fines for the violation.

Contractors for Prevailing Winds Park began construction on the 61-turbine project six days earlier than their permit allowed.

The project covers over 50,000 acres across Bon Homme, Charles Mix and Hutchinson counties.

Peter Pawlowski is the vice president of wind development. He says early construction started on April 18 and went on April 19th and the 23rd. The company’s permit to start construction was for April 28th.

He says he reported prior to interveners said something.

“We reported, not because anyone else was going to say anything, but because we recognized we were in error,” Pawlowski says.

Prevailing Winds Park is a 220-megawatt project. The permit was granted in November.

Kristie Feigen is a public utilities commissioner. She says the project was contested by community members. Because of that, she says conditions were placed on the permit.

“They’re not suggestions,” Feigen says. “Permit conditions need to be adhered to in order for the permit to be given. If they choose not to adhere to the permit and the conditions, then there’s major issues.”

Feigan says Prevailing Winds voluntarily agreed to pay the maximum penalty amount of $30,000. In the time she’s served on the commission--since 2011--she says she’s never seen that before.