Landowners Talk Wind Energy
by Breanna Fuss, Reporter
July 23, 2013 10:11 PM
A South Dakota power company that’s trying to turn the state’s wind into cash held a meeting Tuesday night with a group of people who could potentially put a stop to the project. Dakota Power hopes to get 65,000 to 70,000 acres of farm land to put hundreds of wind turbines up. But until Tuesday night, many landowners had no idea about the plan, and its potential benefits.
We all know South Dakota's wind never stops blowing. So Dakota Power, a power company out of Aberdeen, sees a way to make a profit from it.
“We are looking to produce 1,000 megawatts of power, which is a lot of power, but we have a lot of wind here in Lincoln County,” said Beresford Mayor Jim Fedderson.
Fedderson is not only the mayor of Beresford, but also an investor in the project. He said in order to produce that much power each day, up to 70,000 acres of land is needed, to house 500 to 1,000 turbines.
“Depending on how long the driveway is to the turbine, we would ask them to give up about an acre of land. But that in turn could pay them several thousands of dollars a year,” said Fedderson.
So on Tuesday, a private meeting was held with about 100 landowners from around Lincoln County, to get their input, and to get them up to speed on the project. Kathy Holter is a landowner of 160 acres in Canton. And while unsure about the proposed project, she is open to the possibly of having these on her land.
“I have mixed emotions as far as good farm land and how much of that could be taken, but all of those questions will hopefully be answered tonight,” said Holter.
And Holter said if she likes what she hears, she and her husband already know where some wind turbines could go on their property.
“We are looking at areas that are not our high producing areas, and also we have some land that's a higher elevation,” Holter said.
“There's a very good wind here in Lincoln County, and we want to tap into it,” Fedderson said.
Dakota Power is holding another private meeting Wednesday with more landowners. They said after that they will figure out how much each landowner could get paid if they have a wind turbine on their land.
The wind turbine project also consists of a separate project called ‘Rock Island Clean Line.’ The $200 billion transmission project would connect the turbines in Lincoln County to a power system that extends from Joliet, Ill. to O’Brien County, IA. Associates from that project are also meeting with landowners.
Dakota Power officials said they hope to have the project up and running by 2018.