Jumper cables tied to wind

South Dakota State Roundup

Published November 1, 2008  | November 2008 issue

Despite significant potential, the South Dakota wind industry isn't particularly well developed. But it has positioned itself to make major leaps.

During the last legislative session, the state passed a law that exempted all commercial-scale wind projects from property taxes. Instead, producers will pay a tax ($3 per kilowatt) on generating capacity as well as 2 percent on gross receipts.

This has kick-started a number of projects just since July, including a proposal for a 225-megawatt farm on Lower Brule Sioux Tribe lands and groundbreaking for a 50-megawatt farm in Brookings County. Dakota Wind Energy also publicly sought out landowners in the northeastern corner of the state for a multistage, 750-megawatt project.

But all of these will be overshadowed if a granddaddy project ever comes to fruition. Clipper Windpower had announced some time ago its interest in developing a 1,550-megawatt wind farm in South Dakota. Then this summer, the company announced it had entered a partnership with BP Alternative Energy to develop the original project and to tack on an additional and contiguous 3,500 megawatts of power in a multiphase development. If completed, it would be the world's largest wind project.

Ronald A. Wirtz