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Power line would help wind farm development

Oct 25, 2006 Associated Press Dale Wetzel

A company that is planning a wind power project across the North Dakota-South Dakota border wants to construct a 10-mile power line to connect the turbines to North Dakota's electrical grid, state regulators say.

The Public Service Commission on Wednesday accepted Tatanka Wind Power LLC's letter of intent to build the Dickey County power line, which the company hopes to begin constructing in March. Company filings estimate the project's cost at $7.3 million.

Commissioner Susan Wefald said the line is planned to extend from the South Dakota border to the north, roughly parallel to State Highway 56. It will hook up with an existing Montana-Dakota Utilities Co. transmission line.

A public hearing to take comment from county residents who are interested in the power line project is likely to be scheduled later, Wefald said.

Tatanka is planning to build about 120 wind turbines, capable of generating about 180 megawatts of power. They will be divided among Wacker Township in McPherson County, in northeastern South Dakota, and Albertha Township in Dickey County, which is in southeastern North Dakota, a company filing says.

North Dakota law gives the commission jurisdiction to review a wind farm's tower locations if the project will be capable of generating at least 100 megawatts of electricity.

According to the project's plans, about 90 megawatts of electric generation will be located on each side of the border, Wefald said. The PSC is studying whether it has jurisdiction over the development, a question that is complicated by the fact that it crosses the South Dakota border.

"We do know for sure we would be siting the transmission line," Wefald said.

Tatanka is a subsidiary of Acciona Wind Energy USA LLC, which is a unit of Acciona SA, a Spanish company based in Madrid. Acciona SA is a $5 billion company with broad expertise in renewable energy projects, including wind, solar power and biomass.

Acciona is developing wind farms in the Dakotas, California, Nevada, Oklahoma, Illinois and New York, company documents say.


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