- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) - An effort to start a wind farm in southeast South Dakota that could generate 1,000 megawatts of energy is almost at the halfway mark of its fundraising goal with the $700,000 it has on the bank.

The planned Dakota Power Community Wind, which would run primarily east of Interstate 29, has a minimum goal of raising $1.5 million, the Plain Talk (https://bit.ly/1pjC8Ak ) reported.

“This was started out of a desire by local landowners to harness the wind energy in southern Lincoln County,” said Brian Minish, the project’s treasurer. “We have just under 23,000 acres under option with 100 landowners.”

The Argus Leader newspaper reported that the developer is still seeking to enroll landowners, and even under an ideal timeframe, wind turbines wouldn’t be erected before 2018. Minish has characterized the community wind group as a development entity that will design the Lincoln County project, secure the necessary local, state and federal permits and get the power sold.

Minish told the newspaper that the group will develop the site in Lincoln County with the expectation of selling it in about five years.

The project could generate as much as 1,000 megawatts from as many as 500 turbines.

Minish said a meteorological tower set on the site in April has shown the area is good for wind. He added that the efficiency of more than 40 percent - meaning the amount of time that a turbine would run at a desired speed - also ranks quite favorably compared to other projects.

Minish added that the project doesn’t pose any health risks as some opponents have claimed.

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