Recently Xcel Energy announced their intentions to build a 300-megawatt wind farm called Dakota Range One and Dakota Range 2. The location is approximately 20 miles north of Watertown on a 40,000 acre site. Xcel said it would be the first publicly announced wind project to advance under the phase down of federal tax credits. Company officials say that, even without the full tax credit, the project’s cost is low enough to compete with other fuel sources and that it will lower customer bills over the project’s life. At Tuesday’s Codington County Commission Meeting Dakota Range officials updated the commissioners on the progress of the project. Company spokesman Mark Mauersberger says the initial phase will be just south of 100 towers and would eventually be constructed in Codington, Grant and Roberts counties with some in Grant County as well. To date he says there has been minimal opposition to the project and he credits that to constant outreach to landowners and other affected parties. In the meantime they are reaching out tribe officials to ensure they don’t encroach on sacred lands. They’re also conducting soil testing where the towers would be located. He said they came before the commissioners this week requesting a letter of support from the commissioners.
Commissioner Myron Johnson complimented the company for being so well prepared with their recent presentation before the county planning and zoning board.
They anticipate tower construction to be completed by 2020 and the line energized in 2021. It’s expected that when the letter of support is ready it will be placed on the agenda.