South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Approves Wind Farm Permit For Project Southeast Of Miller

(KCCR) — The South Dakota Public Utility Commission has given approval to a construction permit for yet another wind power project through a popular corridor for wind turbine placement. P-U-C Chairman Gary Hanson says the Sweetland Wind Farm is cleared to begin construction in Hand County…

“It’s about a 200 megawatt wind farm.  It’s up by Miller.  It is expected to be in operation somewhere in 2020, so next year and it’s going to be somewhere in the later part of the year.”
Sweetland will include up to 71 wind turbines across nearly 21-thousand acres of land. Hanson says the project has wide support from area residents however Sweetland got a little ahead of the approval process which caused some challenge…

“They thought that you could put in some access roads.  Farmers put in roads all the time and they didn’t really think they were doing too much wrong, but they were putting them besides where they expected to have turbines and they were doing some work for turbine foundations and you know, digging around where they were going to have turbine foundations, so, by doing that dirt work they’ve basically started construction and you can’t do that until you get a permit.”
The Sweetland Wind Farm will join the Hyde County Wind Energy Center south of Highmore, Titan I wind farm south of Ree Heights, a just approved wind farm south of Highmore and wind farms from Wessington Springs to Kimball in a corridor that is well placed for wind power with high wind and transmission lines…

“In the area where a lot of wind projects are going right now, they have the two major components.  You obviously have to have capital and other components, but transmission and the right strength of wind is of utmost importance.  In South Dakota we seem to have a lot of wind, but we don’t have the transmission systems, so once you find those two areas, then you need to have enough capital to build a project.  They have to have a purchase power agreement, you know someone who’s going to actually purchase the product.”
The project is sited southeast of Miller and south of US-Highway 14 between St. Lawrence and Wessington in Rose Hill, Pearl and Hulbert townships. WAPA transmission lines from Fort Thompson to the Huron area also run through the  area.  Sweetland does not have a power purchase agreement in place and will not begin construction until a buyer for the wind farms electricity is found. Hanson says the construction permit is good for four years meaning Sweetland has until 2024 to find a buyer and begin construction. There are 45 conditions for construction approved on the permit.