By Bob Mercer
Farm Forum Correspondent
Consolidated Edison Development received approval on Feb. 10 to take over a complaint filed with the state Public Utilities Commission against Northwestern Energy.
Consolidated Edison purchased a company that has been attempting to force Northwestern to purchase electricity from three wind-energy sites within Northwestern’s territory in South Dakota.
Consequently Consolidated Edison now owns the three proposed projects in the counties of Aurora near White Lake; Davison near Letcher; and Brule near Kimball. The three sites each would generate 20 megawatts or less.
The complaint asks the PUC to determine the actual avoided cost that would be the maximum Northwestern would have to pay for the power. The forced purchase is legal under a federal law. The sides have been negotiating since 2015.
Attorney William Taylor of Sioux Falls represented Consolidated Edison before the PUC on Feb. 10. He explained that Consolidated Edison purchased Juhl Energy of Pipestone, Minn., in late 2016.
Taylor said Juhl Energy has been in business since the 1970s and constructed the first wind-energy project in Minnesota. He said the original owner of the family company retired and sold the businesses to Consolidated Edison Development.
Consolidated Edison Development has a variety of solar and wind projects throughout the nation including two others in South Dakota. Those are a 55-turbine wind farm in Campbell County and an 11-turbine wind farm known as Oak Tree in Clark County.