- Associated Press - Thursday, July 27, 2017

ONIDA, S.D. (AP) - Construction is scheduled to begin next month on a $150 million ethanol plant in central South Dakota after three years of development and fundraising.

Construction on the Ringneck Energy plant ran into numerous delays due to legal, financial and regulatory hurdles. The company had fought hard to attract investors, holding dozens of meetings across the region and outside the state.

President and CEO Walt Wendland also hired attorneys to battle a handful of Onida residents who didn’t want the plant across the road from their homes.

Wendland said those battles are in the past and that the project’s equity drive ends Friday. He said the drive has raised $85 million, enough capital to attract financing to get the plant built and operating.

Wendland said that Onida originally was chosen as the facility’s location due to the availability of natural gas, water, electricity and the railroad as well as the potential for abundant corn.

City and Sully County officials said the plant will bring great economic benefits, as well as more people, to the community.

The plant will use 25 million bushels of corn per year to produce ethanol as well as the by-product of distillers’ grain that can be used as valuable livestock feed.

Construction is scheduled to begin Aug. 14, with the work expecting to up late next year.

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