TRIPP — A crane tipped over at a construction site where wind turbines are being erected for the Prevailing Wind Park about 10 miles southwest of Tripp Wednesday morning.
Bon Homme County Sheriff Mark Maggs said his office received a call from the site to inform them of the incident, but since it occurred on private property there was no investigation planned. He said there were no injuries reported.
SPower Vice President of Wind Peter Pawlowski, who represents the company building the turbines and is the project manager for the development, said the incident is under investigation by the company.
“At approximately 8:30 a.m. we were made aware that a crane tipped over on the project site on the Bon Homme County portion (of the project),” Pawlowski said. “That occurred near the corner of 293rd Street and 407th Avenue.”
Pawlowski also said nobody was injured in the incident, which occurred while the crane was moving between two turbines. The company is still evaluating the damage to the machine and the length of any delay that may extend from the incident.
“Our folks are on site and investigating the incident. Nobody was injured, and obviously for the company the main concern is the safety of the community, contractors and employees,” Pawlowski said.
He did not have figures on the height of the crane or its dollar value. The turbines are planned to have a maximum height of 590 feet and a maximum rotor diameter of 449 feet.
The construction permit for the Prevailing Wind Park project was approved by the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission in November 2018. The wind farm will be able to produce nearly 220 megawatts of energy in parts of Bon Homme, Charles Mix and Hutchinson counties in southeast South Dakota. The facility is expected to include up to 61 wind turbines in a 50,364-acre area.
Last week, sPower said it closed on debt financing and tax equity commitment for the project, which it said has climbed to $319 million in costs. HSBC and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce are the lenders, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch has backed the tax equity commitment. The project, which is supposed to be able to power as many as 90,000 homes, is sPower's largest to date.
Other expected components of the project include access roads, crane paths, collector lines, fiber optic cables, an operation and management facility, as many as four permanent meteorological towers and a project substation. The project has been slated to be finished late this year.
It is the second major wind project in the area between Tripp and Avon. In 2015, the Beethoven wind turbines began operation, where 43 turbines were expected to produce 80 megawatts of power. That project was sold to NorthWestern Energy for $143 million in 2015, just a few months after it went online.