Nelson Says PUC Letting Wind Energy Marketplace Determine Growth Of Industry

(WNAX) — More wind energy sites will be built across South Dakota over the next couple of years. Public Utilities Commissioner Chris Nelson says they are letting the marketplace determine how much is enough wind power…

“We’re really at a crescendo right now of interest in building a new wind projects. In 2018, the PUC issued three permits for large projects. Already in 2019, we’ve issued five or six permits. We’ve got two more permit applications that we’re working through right now and if all of those projects are actually constructed, we will have quadrupled the amount of wind power in South Dakota in a two-year time span.”

Nelson says most of the power produced by those plants will go out of state…

“Some of that energy is going to local utility companies. Some of it is going to utility companies that are in neighboring states and some of it is now being bought by large corporations like a Google that wants to have some green energy as part of their portfolio and sol we’re seeing a number of different kind of buyers seeing South Dakota wind energy is being a good option for them.”

Nelson says three major power lines have been built in the last few years, which can carry the extra energy from the wind generators…

“One of those goes from the White, South Dakota area over to the Twin Cities. Another one from White going north up to Big Stone and then a third from Big Stone up to Ellendale, North Dakota. And if you can picture that in your mind; that really covers the northeastern part of South Dakota and those lines are now being used for a lot of this new wind generation and will take that power and a lot of that’s going to end up going to the east.”

The current project approvals would add around seven hundred turbines and raise the total of wind generated energy to thirty-six hundred megawatts.