Gary Hanson

New Wind Farm Looking For Buyer

23 hours ago

A new wind farm has been approved near Miller, South Dakota. Officials say it didn’t take long for this facility to get approved. 


The Sweetland Wind Farm is expected to produce nearly 200 megawatts of energy. Gary Hanson is the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chairman. He says that’s about enough energy to power a large business like Walmart. At the beginning of the year, he says the state had enough farms to produce more than one thousand megawatts of wind energy, and he expects that number to double by the end of the year. 

Public Utilities Commissioners have approved a permit for an oil pipeline built across eastern South Dakota. The pipeline is more than 1,100 miles long and will transport crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois. Commissioners approved the permit with conditions on a split vote.

The local segment of the Dakota Access Pipeline stretches from the North Dakota border 272 miles across South Dakota to the Iowa state line. It includes one pump station, and the proposed route crosses 13 eastern South Dakota counties.

Six years ago, the first Keystone pipeline was under construction through several counties in Eastern South Dakota. One landowner testified Tuesday before the Public Utilities Commission in Pierre that reclamation has not been done. The PUC has been taking testimony for more than a week to determine if TransCanada, the Keystone XL pipeline parent company, can meet 50 conditions attached to its 2010 permit. Among those conditions is land reclamation. The Keystone XL, if built, will run through Western South Dakota.

Victoria Wicks

Time set for the Keystone XL hearing in Pierre has been extended. The Public Utilities Commission had set the week of July 27 through Aug. 4, with a clear weekend. But today (Thursday), TransCanada’s witnesses are still on the stand, and interveners’ witnesses are still to come.

The delay comes largely because each TransCanada witness is subject to cross-examination by about a dozen interveners, one at a time. Questioning is detailed and lengthy, as are objections and discussions of the hearing’s format.

Victoria Wicks

The Keystone XL pipeline hearings in Pierre delve into details of the Keystone One pipeline already built on the eastern side of the state, and on assurances TransCanada has made for the proposed Western South Dakota route. A Keystone official has been on the stand since Monday afternoon, often deferring questions to other TransCanada witnesses still to come. Each witness is subject to cross-examination and re-cross by interveners and their attorneys, and by Public Utilities Commissioners and their staff.

The Keystone XL pipeline was not built within four years of its South Dakota siting permit, so now TransCanada has to certify that the project still meets all conditions. The state’s Public Utilities Commission issued a permit for the pipeline on June 29, 2010. But the PUC chairman tells SDPB’s Victoria Wicks that right now, all eyes are on Nebraska.

State Of Our Utilities/Infrastructure

Oct 31, 2013

As part of South Dakota Public Broadcasting’s series exploring the state of South Dakota’s infrastructure, Gary Hanson discusses the state of the areas falling under the purview of the PUC, including electricity, natural gas and telecommunications.  Hanson was elected to the commission in 2003 and re-elected in November 2008. He served as the commission's chairman in 2005, 2008 and 2011.  He represents South Dakota on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' Committee on Electricity.  



South Dakota Public Utilities Commission chairman Gary Hanson says the world needs to transition to renewable energy but, because the industry and economy of fossil fuels is so huge and existing technology is limited, change won't come abruptly.  He visited with SDPB news reporter Victoria Wicks.

Climate change, global warming, greenhouse effect—people can't even agree on the terminology. Whatever it’s called, conventional wisdom in the United States tells us it’s a liberal issue, that conservatives don’t believe human activity has much to do with it.

But it’s not all that simple, even here in the red state of South Dakota. A few conservative voices have emerged over the years to support taking action to prevent or mitigate the effects of human activity on the earth’s climate.