No corporate taxes, a compliant regulator, a dearth of environmental protection and cheap labor make South Dakota the perfect dumping ground for earth killers like coal and eyesores like wind farms. But according to Republican Public Utilities Cartel Commissioner Chris Nelson the amount of wind power generation may have reached its plateau. In a 2019 interview with WNAX Radio Nelson said he believes there will be rapid development of solar power production facilities instead.
It didn’t take Meade County commissioners long at all Tuesday to tell an out-of-state developer they didn’t want a wind farm in eastern Meade County. Scott Debenham, president of Debenham Energy of San Diego, Calif., had asked to be included on the commission meeting agenda for its Tuesday meeting. Debenham, speaking to the commission via phone, explained that the government is beginning to open Forest Service land for alternative energy development. “The last state in the country I want to emulate as far as energy is California. I am not going to vote for this proposal,” Commissioner Doreen Creed told Debenham. [Black Hills Pioneer]In 2017 a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks study determined a single wind farm kills between 120 to 397 bats annually or about nine bats per turbine. Today, public lands are at risk to developers.
Well over $1 million is expected be spent on sensors and test towers to gauge the best placement for the wind turbine, Debenham said, but there are several considerations that will need to be born in mind as he works to find the best location across the four districts of the Black Hills National Forest. Debenham is open to locating his wind farm in the Bearlodge, Northern Hills, Mystic or Hell Canyon districts, he said, though each has its own benefits and drawbacks. “All of Chicago could be powered with this Forest,” he said of the scale of the proposal. He would also be looking for mining projects nearby, to which power could be supplied. In other words, he said, the company does not want to discover the presence of “a bunch of noisy, litigious people” after spending a quarter million dollars on the sensors. [Sundance (Wyoming) Times]Wyoming Game and Fish discovered white nose syndrome in bats roosting at Devils Tower National Monument in early May.
Avangrid, Inc., a US-based subsidiary of Spanish energy firm Iberdrola with a base in my home town of Elkton, South Dakota has spent at least $216 million on a wind farm. That amount of cash would take nearly 17,000 electric subscribers completely off the grid. Pending approvals Iberdrola and Avangrid will acquire Public Service of New Mexico (PNM) for about $4.3 billion. The move came just before voters changed the state's regulatory body to an elected five-member board to a three person governor-appointed commission.
The average cost of a household photovoltaic system has dropped below $3/watt or less than $12,810 before tax credits are factored in and leaving the grid has never been easier so anyone who can afford to it should do it now.
Don’t tie your system to the grid but if you use it as a backup keep your electricity completely invisible to the utility that reads your meter. Microgrid technologies are destined to encourage self-reliance, enhance tribal sovereignty, free communities from electric monopolies and net-metering only gives control back to utilities enabled by moral hazard.
The BHNF has begun its revision of the the current Land and Resource Management plan. First released in 1983, revised in 1997 and amended in 2006 it serves as the current Forest Plan.
ip photo: a familiar name appears on a gravestone in the Elk Vale Cemetery in southern Meade County just north of Ellsworth Air Force Base.