New wind farm eyeing Butte County for potential siting
BUTTE COUNTY — A new wind farm company may locate to Butte County north of Newell.
Brenda Moore, a general manager with Energiekontor U.S., Inc., spoke to the Butte County Commission Thursday and explained that Energiekontor is an international energy producer that is part of the Energiekontor group of companies present in many countries including Germany, the U.K., France, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
According to the company’s website, the group has developed, financed, and constructed nearly 120 utility scale renewables projects worldwide and is currently developing utility scale wind projects in Texas and the Dakotas.
Moore told the commission that before speaking to landowners occupying a new potential wind energy site, she likes to speak with the local county commission to ensure it is on board and in the know about all the moving parts involved in this type of project.
She said the company has been operating in the U.S. for 18 months and has a Rapid City office.
The company’s focus, Moore said, is a commitment to 100 percent sustainable energy.
“And that drives where our money goes,” she said. “So we aren’t necessarily driven to make a profit, we’re driven to put more renewable energy on the planet, and so we make decisions based on that.”
Moore told the commission that the company is looking at a location that is adjacent to the Willow Creek wind facility proposed to be located approximately 10 miles northeast of Newell. She said the Energiekontor project would likely produce between 90-100 megawatts by constructing between 20-24 turbines.
Compared to those planned for the Willow Creek facility, owned by Pattern Energy, Moore said the turbines that Energiekontor would construct are much larger turbines that have the capacity to generate more energy than those slated for Willow Creek.
“So fewer turbines but taller turbines,” she said.
The project would be solely located within Butte County, she said.
“In the footprint that we are looking at right now there are no houses out there … it’s just very sparsely populated,” she said.
Moore said the project would require three to 10 years for construction.
After speaking with landowners and getting land leases in place, Energiekontor will be required to seek permitting from the S.D. Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
“We would like to start talking to landowners in the next couple of weeks,” Moore said.
According to the S.D. PUC website, altogether, South Dakota has more than 1,018 MW of wind energy installed.
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