The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission voted to grant a construction permit with conditions to Crocker Wind Farm to build a wind energy facility and associated 345-kV transmission line in Clark County. The wind farm will include up to 120 wind turbines and 5.2 miles of overhead transmission, and will have the capability to produce up to 400 MW of electricity.
Issues related to road protections, decommissioning ,and aircraft detection lighting are among the 40 conditions approved by PUC commissioners Kristie Fiegen, Gary Hanson and Chris Nelson.
“The Crocker Wind project has generated significant public interest,” said PUC Chairperson Fiegen. “The PUC worked hard to develop meaningful conditions that are responsive to the landowners, area residents, and the applicant. I hope the decision today allows the process to move forward as smoothly as possible,” she concluded.
Crocker filed the application to construct the Crocker Wind Farm with PUC on December 17, 2017. The PUC held a public input hearing in February in Clark and an evidentiary hearing in May in Pierre. State law requires the commission to make its decision no later than six months after receiving an application for a wind energy facility. Formal parties participating in the docket included Crocker, PUC staff, and intervenors Shad Stevens and Gayle Paulson.
Commissioner Hanson offered a condition, that was met with agreement by his fellow commissioners, that Crocker provide a public liaison officer to facilitate communication among landowners, area residents and PUC staff and work to resolve problems or complaints. “I feel strongly that folks in Clark County be given a clear path to communicate if they have concerns during the construction or operation of the facility,” he said.
“Crocker has met the legal threshold to receive the permit,” said Commissioner Chris Nelson in making the motion to grant the construction permit with conditions. “State law outlines the criteria the applicant is required to meet and the PUC has thoroughly reviewed the application, testimony and evidence, as well as the public input, to arrive at this decision,” he said.
In its application for the permit, Crocker stated it anticipates the Crocker Wind Farm will begin commercial operation by fourth quarter 2019.
The Crocker Wind Farm docket can be viewed on the PUC’s website, Commission Actions, Electric Dockets, 2017 Electric Dockets, EL17-055 – In the Matter of the Application by Crocker Wind Farm, LLC for a Permit of a Wind Energy Facility and a 345 kV Transmission Line in Clark County, South Dakota, for Crocker Wind Farm.