Moody County is moving ahead of Lake County on the wind power front. The Moody County Commission is updating its zoning rules for wind farms. Colorado wind energy developer Distributed Generation Systems has been measuring wind around Flandreau since last year. DisGen has done two wind projects, a 10-MW wind farm in Pennsylvania and a 16-MW farm in Colorado. They're also working on a number of Native American wind projects, including a 30-MW project with our neighbors on the Rosebud. In an August interview, DisGen project development manager Mike Moldal said the Moody County development could be bigger:
He said Flandreau East is a potentially 100-400 megawatt project (Moldal later refined his estimate of the project to "at least 50, maybe 100" megawatts) that would be located on high ground east of Flandreau. Moldal estimates that the project would include between 50 and 200 wind turbines and would span 12,000 acres. Santee involvement sought Disgen is in the process of working with private landowners in that area and will also offer the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe an opportunity to be involved in the project. The Flandreau West project would span a considerably smaller 640 acres west of Egan. Moldal said he has been in negotiations with three different landowners in that area, including John and Monte Mousel, Berdyne Bowen, and Arvin and Carol Van Holland. "We've tied up a section of land up there," he said. "Those three landowners are very excited about this project, and we anticipate installing 10-12 turbines for a project just shy of 20 megawatts" [Ryan Woodard, "Wind Power in Moody County's Future?" Brookings Register, 2009.08.28].
If Moody County can draw wind energy projects like that, so can Lake County. Federal data shows the wind whipping Junius and Madison is at least as strong as what blows by Flandreau and Egan. But when even local wind developers get a lukewarm response from the city (go check with Heartland? that's the best we can manage?), we're just asking to be left behind in the drive to capitalize on modern energy technology.
As the LAIC struggles to recoup lost jobs in Lake County, perhaps they should get us on the radar of DisGen and other wind developers who could bring some green jobs and green energy to our side of the Lake-Moody county line.