Wind farm near Newell now fully permitted

A wind farm, slated to be constructed near Newell, has now been fully permitted and construction is hoped to begin in December. Courtesy photo

BELLE FOURCHE — Wind Quarry, LLC, of Colorado, announced last week the achievement of two major milestones in the development of its proposed Willow Creek Wind Energy Facility approximately 10 miles northeast of Newell.

According to a prepared statement on the subject, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) issued its record of decision on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). WAPA, the federal agency administering the environmental review, issued a finding of no significant impact. The environmental and cultural evaluations of the project are now complete. The Willow Creek project also marks the first completion of an environmental review utilizing WAPA’s Programmatic EIS, a streamlined review process developed by WAPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to simplify the EIS process for wind power projects in the western U.S.

In October, Wind Quarry executed a Generator Interconnection Agreement (GIA) with WAPA and Southwest Power Pool (SPP). SPP is the transmission operator that manages the power grid in the region. The GIA outlines the terms and conditions to connect the Willow Creek Facility to the grid.

These two milestones complete the permitting phase of the development process, and allow Wind Quarry to break ground on the project in the near future.

The $210 million wind farm project involves the potential construction of an approximate 103-MW generating facility that includes up to 45 turbines, an underground power collection system, substation, access roads, and a maintenance and operation center.

The project would produce up to 450,000-megawatt hours of electricity per year and would enter the grid through an interconnection with WAPA’s Maurine to Rapid City transmission line inside the project area.

“We’re very excited,” Patrick O’Meara, Wind Quarry CEO, said about the project’s progress.

Negotiations are currently underway for project financing and obtaining a Power Purchase Agreement for the energy produced at the site. O’Meara said he’d like to see construction begin before the end of December.

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