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September 01, 2020 1:28pm
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Regulators approve 200 MW wind project with Basin Electric PPA in place

The project would consist of up to 71 wind turbines spread across some 47,000 acres in South Dakota.

South Dakota regulators approved with conditions a permit for North Bend Wind Project, a 200 MW wind energy facility proposed by ENGIE North America.

The project would be near company’s 92 tower Triple H Wind Farm and would consist of up to 71 wind turbines spread across some 47,000 acres in Hughes and Hyde County. 

In mid-December, Basin Electric Power Cooperative signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement for output from the wind project, which is expected to enter service late this year. 

Basin Electric serves 131 member cooperatives across nine states in the Southwest Power Pool.

Regulatory approval came with conditions. Farmers argued the wind turbines could make it difficult for aircraft to spray crop pesticides. Farmers said they could lose $684 an acre should their sunflower fields go untreated.

To resolve the issue, developers agreed that an ENGIE site manager would work with pilots to determine a time to shut down the turbines to allow sprayers to fly unhindered.

One unresolved issue is the project’s location near an air route surveillance radar. The radar is some 40 nautical miles from the project, but could fall within the line of sight of the instrument, which is jointly owned by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense. A more detailed study may be required.

Separately, Basin Electric plans to build a $790 million, 583 MW natural gas-fueled power station near its existing Pioneer Generation Station northwest of Williston, North Dakota. 

The project’s first phase would include 240 MW simple-cycle combustion turbine, a series of reciprocating engines totaling 108 MW, and 15 miles of 345 kilovolt transmission, all to be in service in 2025. The second phase would include a 240 MW simple-cycle combustion turbine to be in service in 2026.

Known as Pioneer Generation Station Phase IV, the project was approved by the Basin Electric board of directors in September. The cooperative submitted an application to the North Dakota Public Service Commission in October for a Certificate of Site Compatibility. 

The last time Basin Electric built a project of this size was in 1984 when the 450 MW coal-fired Unit One of the Antelope Valley Station entered service.

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