- Associated Press - Monday, January 9, 2017

AVON, S.D. (AP) - A company that proposed a 201-megawatt wind farm near Avon last year has a new plan for 13 smaller projects in southeastern South Dakota.

Last month, the Public Utilities Commission received paperwork that Prevailing Winds filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding the new project, Public Utilities Commission chairwoman Kristie Fiegen told the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan (https://bit.ly/2iVtYX8 ).

She said the size of the projects in Bon Homme and Charles Mix counties range from 6.8 megawatts to 20 megawatts.

Fiegen said investors are seeking qualifying facility status under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act, which gives small wind power production facilities the right to sell their power and mandates utilities to buy the power at a certain point.

According to Ronnie Hornstra, Prevailing Winds chairman, the proposed projects won’t harm rural-electric cooperatives or other energy providers.

“It only creates an opportunity for the cooperatives to purchase local renewable energy that would reduce cooperatives’ energy costs and would be generated right here in South Dakota,” Hornstra said.

Hornstra said the projects would provide energy at a cost savings. He added that Prevailing Winds’ charter seeks the social and economic improvement of rural South Dakota.

“Our mission statement is the primary reason we are making these offers to the cooperatives,” Hornstra said, “to extend our projects economic benefits to as many South Dakota residents as possible.”

Prevailing Winds’ board withdrew its previous application last August after a public hearing in Avon.

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Information from: Yankton Press and Dakotan, https://www.yankton.net/

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