Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and To Conduct Scoping Meetings: Interconnection of the Proposed Hyde County Wind Energy Center Project, South Dakota, 74040-74042 [2010-30068]

Download as PDF 74040 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 229 / Tuesday, November 30, 2010 / Notices 888 First St. NE., Washington, DC 20426. The filings in the above-referenced proceeding(s) are accessible in the Commission’s eLibrary system by clicking on the appropriate link in the above list. They are also available for review in the Commission’s Public Reference Room in Washington, DC. There is an eSubscription link on the Web site that enables subscribers to receive e-mail notification when a document is added to a subscribed docket(s). For assistance with any FERC Online service, please e-mail FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov. or call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2010–30032 Filed 11–29–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration [DOE/EIS–0461] Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and To Conduct Scoping Meetings: Interconnection of the Proposed Hyde County Wind Energy Center Project, South Dakota Western Area Power Administration, DOE. ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and to Conduct Scoping Meetings; Notice of Floodplain and Wetlands Involvement. AGENCY: NextEra Energy Resources (NextEra) applied to interconnect its proposed 150-megawatt (MW) Hyde County Wind Energy Center Project (Project), located in Hyde County, South Dakota, with the Western Area Power Administration’s (Western) existing Fort Thompson Substation in Buffalo County, South Dakota. Western will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposal to interconnect the Project in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) NEPA Implementing Procedures, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing NEPA. Western’s need for agency action is precipitated by NextEra’s application to interconnect with Western’s power transmission system. Western needs to consider NextEra’s interconnection request under its Open Access Transmission Service Tariff (Tariff). This EIS will address Western’s Federal jdjones on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:13 Nov 29, 2010 Jkt 223001 action of interconnecting the proposed Project to Western’s transmission system, making changes within Western’s existing Fort Thompson Substation to physically connect NextEra’s proposed Project, and making any necessary system modifications to accommodate the interconnection. Existing transmission line approaches to Fort Thompson Substation may also need to be realigned. By taking these actions, power generated by NextEra’s proposed Project would use Western’s transmission system to reach the market. Portions of NextEra’s proposed Project may affect floodplains and wetlands, so this Notice of Intent (NOI) also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action in accordance with DOE floodplain and wetland environmental review requirements. DATES: A public scoping meeting will be held on December 14, 2011, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Highmore, South Dakota. The public scoping period starts with the publication of this notice and ends on January 14, 2011. Western will consider all comments on the scope of the EIS received or postmarked by that date. The public is invited to submit comments on the proposed Project at any time during the EIS process. ADDRESSES: Western will host public scoping meetings at the Hyde County Senior Center, 103 Iowa Avenue South, Highmore, South Dakota, to provide information on the Project and gather comments on the proposal. Oral or written comments may be provided at the public scoping meetings or mailed or e-mailed to Matt Marsh, Upper Great Plains Regional Office, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, Billings, MT 59107–5800, e-mail MMarsh@wapa.gov, telephone (800) 358–3415. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information on the proposed Project, the EIS process, or to receive a copy of the Draft EIS when it is published, contact Matt Marsh at the addresses above. For general information on the DOE’s NEPA review process, contact Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC–54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 20585–0119, telephone (202) 586–4600 or (800) 472– 2756, facsimile (202) 586–7031. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western is a Federal power marketing agency within the DOE that markets and delivers Federal wholesale electric power (principally hydroelectric power) to municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, public utilities, irrigation PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 districts, Federal and State agencies, and Native American tribes in 15 western and central States. NextEra’s proposed Project would be located within Western’s Upper Great Plains Region, which operates in North and South Dakota, most of Montana, and portions of Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. NextEra applied to interconnect their proposed 150-MW Project with Western’s existing Fort Thompson Substation in Buffalo County, South Dakota. The proposed wind farm Project would be located entirely on private lands; no State- or Federal-managed land would be affected. The transmission line connecting the proposed wind farm to Fort Thompson Substation would, however, cross lands of the Crow Creek Indian Reservation. There are no designated cooperating agencies at this time, but cooperating agencies could be identified at a later date. Western will prepare an EIS on the interconnection of the proposed Project in accordance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321–4347); DOE NEPA Implementing Procedures (10 CFR part 1021), and the CEQ regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508).1 Purpose and Need for Agency Action Western’s need for agency action is precipitated by NextEra’s application to interconnect with Western’s power transmission system. Western needs to consider NextEra’s interconnection request under Western’s Tariff, which provides for open access to its transmission system through an interconnection if there is available capacity in the transmission system. This EIS will address Western’s Federal action of interconnecting NextEra’s proposed Project with Fort Thompson Substation, making changes within the substation to physically accomplish the interconnection, and making any necessary system modifications to accommodate the interconnection. Preliminary studies indicate that the power system can accommodate the proposed interconnection without negatively affecting system reliability or power deliveries to existing customers. The transmission system may require network and/or transmission system upgrades as determined in the final studies. Any such upgrades would be funded by NextEra as a condition of the interconnection. 1 On October 4, 1999, DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Environmental, Safety and Health delegated to Western’s Administrator the authority to approve EISs for integrating transmission facilities with Western’s transmission grid. E:\FR\FM\30NON1.SGM 30NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 229 / Tuesday, November 30, 2010 / Notices Proposed Action In compliance with the provisions of the Tariff, and considering the environmental impacts of NextEra’s proposed Project as identified by the EIS process, Western will consider NextEra’s interconnection request. If approved the necessary changes within Fort Thompson Substation would be made to accomplish the interconnection, and power generated by the proposed Project would use Western’s transmission system to reach the market. Western will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and with the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office under section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Alternatives Western must respond to NextEra’s proposed Project as it is described in the interconnection application, and make a decision on interconnection based on that application. However, Western will use the information in NextEra’s interconnection request to evaluate possible options for transmission line approaches to Fort Thompson Substation. The location of the interconnection bay within the substation, other transmission lines, and any future development plans will all be considered in siting the approach. Under the no action alternative, Western would not approve the interconnection request, nor construct the interconnection facility. jdjones on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with NOTICES Applicant’s Proposed Project NextEra’s proposed Project would consist of up to 100 wind turbine generators with a combined total generating capacity of 150 MW, located within an approximately 15,000-acre site in Hyde County, South Dakota, north of Fort Thompson Substation and Pierre. The turbines would be located in short east-west oriented strings, with the strings widely scattered over an area of roughly 6 by 7 miles in size. Each turbine would be approximately 389 feet tall from tip of blade to base, and 262 feet tall from the ground to the hub. In addition to the turbines, other proposed Project facilities would include all-weather access roads to each turbine location; underground power collection lines linking turbines to the Project collector substation; the Project collector substation; an approximately 25-mile-long high-voltage transmission line linking the collector substation to Western’s Fort Thompson Substation; operation and maintenance facilities and yard; Supervisory Control and Data VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:13 Nov 29, 2010 Jkt 223001 Acquisition equipment and metering equipment; and two or three permanent meteorological towers. NextEra plans to upgrade the existing East River Electric Cooperative (East River) 69-kilovolt (kV) transmission line that passes the west boundary of its site and continues south into Fort Thompson Substation to provide the necessary transmission link to the substation. NextEra would need to upgrade approximately 25 miles of the existing transmission line to 230-kV to provide a suitable transmission path for their proposed Project. While Western’s Federal action is to consider the interconnection request and the physical interconnection to Western’s existing substation, the EIS will also identify and review the environmental impacts of NextEra’s proposed Project. NextEra will be responsible for completing necessary coordination with State and local agencies to permit their proposed Project. NextEra intends to provide renewable energy to local utilities in response to South Dakota’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, passed in 2008, which mandate that 10 percent of all electricity consumed in the State be produced from renewable sources by 2015. Floodplain or Wetland Involvement Since the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or wetlands, this NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action. The EIS will include a floodplain/wetland assessment and floodplain/wetland statement of findings following DOE regulations for compliance with floodplain and wetlands environmental review (10 CFR part 1022). NextEra intends to avoid disturbance to all wetland areas within the proposed Project area if possible. Environmental Issues The location of the proposed Project is in a relatively sparsely populated portion of eastern South Dakota. The area is characterized by extensive agriculture and pasture with scattered farmsteads on section line roads. NextEra has secured leases with willing landowners for its wind generation turbines and related facilities. Available overview information indicates this area has a relatively low probability of substantial natural resources conflicts. NextEra’s siting process for the wind turbine strings and associated facilities considered sensitive resources, and the proposed Project was designed to avoid these areas. The EIS will evaluate the level of impact the interconnection and PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 74041 NextEra’s proposed Project would have on environmental resources within the 15,000-acre site, which may lead to minor modifications in the proposed Project to further avoid or minimize resource impacts. While no substantive resource conflicts have been identified thus far, the EIS will analyze the potential impacts on potentially affected environmental resources. Wind farm projects are generally known to have visual and noise effects, and may affect birds and bats. Public Participation Interested parties are invited to participate in the scoping process to help define the scope, significant resources, and issues to be analyzed in depth, and to eliminate from detailed study issues that are not pertinent. The scoping process will involve all interested agencies (Federal, State, county, and local), Native American tribes, public interest groups, businesses, affected landowners, and individual members of the public. Western will consult with the Crow Creek Sioux and other potentially affected or interested tribes to jointly evaluate and address the potential effects on cultural resources, traditional cultural properties, or other resources important to the tribes. These nation-tonation consultations will be conducted in accordance with Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments (65 FR 67249), the President’s memorandum of April 29, 1994, Government-toGovernment Relations with Native American Tribal Governments (59 FR 22951), DOE-specific guidance on tribal interactions, and applicable natural and cultural resources laws and regulations. A public scoping meeting will be held as described under DATES and ADDRESSES above. The meeting will be informal, and attendees will be able to speak directly with Western and NextEra representatives about the proposed Project. The public is encouraged to provide information and comments on issues it believes Western should address in the EIS. Comments may be broad in nature or restricted to specific areas of concern. After gathering comments on the scope of the EIS, Western will address those issues raised in the EIS. Comments on the interconnection and NextEra’s proposed Project will be accepted at any time during the EIS process, and may be directed to Western as described under ADDRESSES above. Western’s EIS process will include the public scoping meetings; consultation and coordination with appropriate Federal, State, county, and local E:\FR\FM\30NON1.SGM 30NON1 74042 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 229 / Tuesday, November 30, 2010 / Notices agencies and tribal governments; involvement with affected landowners; distribution of and public review and comment on the Draft EIS; a formal public hearing or hearings on the Draft EIS; distribution of a published Final EIS; and publication of Western’s Record of Decision in the Federal Register. Dated: November 19, 2010. Timothy J. Meeks, Administrator. [FR Doc. 2010–30068 Filed 11–29–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Western Area Power Administration [DOE/EIS–0462] Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and To Conduct Scoping Meetings: Interconnection of the Proposed Crowned Ridge Wind Energy Center Project, South Dakota Western Area Power Administration, DOE. ACTION: Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and To Conduct Scoping Meetings; Notice of Floodplain and Wetlands Involvement. AGENCY: NextEra Energy Resources (NextEra) applied to interconnect its proposed 150-megawatt (MW) Crowned Ridge Wind Energy Center Project (Project) with the Western Area Power Administration’s (Western) existing Watertown Substation in Codington County, South Dakota. The proposed Project would be located in Codington and Grant counties, South Dakota. Western will prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposal to interconnect the Project in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) NEPA Implementing Procedures, and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing NEPA. Western’s need for agency action is precipitated by NextEra’s application to interconnect with Western’s power transmission system. Western needs to consider NextEra’s interconnection request under its Open Access Transmission Service Tariff (Tariff). This EIS will address Western’s Federal action of interconnecting the proposed Project to Western’s transmission system, making changes within Western’s existing Watertown Substation to physically connect NextEra’s proposed Project, and making jdjones on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:13 Nov 29, 2010 Jkt 223001 any necessary system modifications to accommodate the interconnection. By taking these actions, power generated by NextEra’s proposed Project would use Western’s transmission system to reach the market. Portions of NextEra’s proposed Project may affect floodplains and wetlands, so this Notice of Intent (NOI) also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or wetland action in accordance with DOE floodplain and wetland environmental review requirements. DATES: A public scoping meeting will be held on December 15, 2011, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Watertown, South Dakota. The public scoping period starts with the publication of this notice and ends on January 14, 2011. Western will consider all comments on the scope of the EIS received or postmarked by that date. The public is invited to submit comments on the proposed Project at any time during the EIS process. ADDRESSES: Western will host public scoping meetings at the Watertown Public Library Community Room, 160 6th Street North, Watertown, South Dakota, to provide information on the Project and gather comments on the proposal. Oral or written comments may be provided at the public scoping meetings or mailed or e-mailed to Matt Marsh, Upper Great Plains Regional Office, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, Billings, MT 59107–5800, e-mail MMarsh@wapa.gov, telephone (800) 358–3415. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information on the proposed Project, the EIS process, or to receive a copy of the Draft EIS when it is published, contact Matt Marsh at the addresses above. For general information on the DOE’s NEPA review process, contact Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC–54, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585–0119, telephone (202) 586–4600 or (800) 472– 2756, facsimile (202) 586–7031. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western is a Federal power marketing agency within the DOE that markets and delivers Federal wholesale electric power (principally hydroelectric power) to municipalities, rural electric cooperatives, public utilities, irrigation districts, Federal and State agencies, and Native American tribes in 15 western and central States. NextEra’s proposed Project would be located within Western’s Upper Great Plains Region, which operates in North and South Dakota, most of Montana, and portions of Iowa, Minnesota, and PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Nebraska. NextEra applied to interconnect their proposed 150–MW Project with Western’s existing Watertown Substation in Codington County, South Dakota. The proposed wind farm Project would be located entirely on private lands; no State- or Federal-managed land would be affected. There are no designated cooperating agencies at this time, but cooperating agencies could be identified at a later date. Western will prepare an EIS on the interconnection of the proposed Project in accordance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321–4347); DOE NEPA Implementing Procedures (10 CFR part 1021), and the CEQ regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508).1 Purpose and Need for Agency Action Western’s need for agency action is precipitated by NextEra’s application to interconnect with Western’s power transmission system. Western needs to consider NextEra’s interconnection request under Western’s Tariff, which provides for open access to its transmission system through an interconnection if there is available capacity in the transmission system. This EIS will address Western’s Federal action of interconnecting NextEra’s proposed Project with Watertown Substation, making changes within the substation to physically accomplish the interconnection, and making any necessary system modifications to accommodate the interconnection. Preliminary studies indicate that the power system can accommodate the proposed interconnection without negatively affecting system reliability or power deliveries to existing customers. The transmission system may require network and/or transmission system upgrades as determined in the final studies. Any such upgrades would be funded by NextEra as a condition of the interconnection. Proposed Action In compliance with the provisions of the Tariff, and considering the environmental impacts of NextEra’s proposed Project as identified by the EIS process, Western will consider NextEra’s interconnection request. If approved the necessary changes within Watertown Substation would be made to accomplish the interconnection, and power generated by the proposed Project would use Western’s transmission system to reach the 1 On October 4, 1999, DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Environmental, Safety and Health delegated to Western’s Administrator the authority to approve EISs for integrating transmission facilities with Western’s transmission grid. E:\FR\FM\30NON1.SGM 30NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 229 (Tuesday, November 30, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 74040-74042]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-30068]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Western Area Power Administration

[DOE/EIS-0461]


Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and To 
Conduct Scoping Meetings: Interconnection of the Proposed Hyde County 
Wind Energy Center Project, South Dakota

AGENCY: Western Area Power Administration, DOE.

ACTION: Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement 
and to Conduct Scoping Meetings; Notice of Floodplain and Wetlands 
Involvement.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NextEra Energy Resources (NextEra) applied to interconnect its 
proposed 150-megawatt (MW) Hyde County Wind Energy Center Project 
(Project), located in Hyde County, South Dakota, with the Western Area 
Power Administration's (Western) existing Fort Thompson Substation in 
Buffalo County, South Dakota. Western will prepare an environmental 
impact statement (EIS) on the proposal to interconnect the Project in 
accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), 
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) NEPA Implementing Procedures, and the 
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations for implementing 
NEPA.
    Western's need for agency action is precipitated by NextEra's 
application to interconnect with Western's power transmission system. 
Western needs to consider NextEra's interconnection request under its 
Open Access Transmission Service Tariff (Tariff). This EIS will address 
Western's Federal action of interconnecting the proposed Project to 
Western's transmission system, making changes within Western's existing 
Fort Thompson Substation to physically connect NextEra's proposed 
Project, and making any necessary system modifications to accommodate 
the interconnection. Existing transmission line approaches to Fort 
Thompson Substation may also need to be realigned. By taking these 
actions, power generated by NextEra's proposed Project would use 
Western's transmission system to reach the market.
    Portions of NextEra's proposed Project may affect floodplains and 
wetlands, so this Notice of Intent (NOI) also serves as a notice of 
proposed floodplain or wetland action in accordance with DOE floodplain 
and wetland environmental review requirements.

DATES: A public scoping meeting will be held on December 14, 2011, from 
5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Highmore, South Dakota.
    The public scoping period starts with the publication of this 
notice and ends on January 14, 2011. Western will consider all comments 
on the scope of the EIS received or postmarked by that date. The public 
is invited to submit comments on the proposed Project at any time 
during the EIS process.

ADDRESSES: Western will host public scoping meetings at the Hyde County 
Senior Center, 103 Iowa Avenue South, Highmore, South Dakota, to 
provide information on the Project and gather comments on the proposal. 
Oral or written comments may be provided at the public scoping meetings 
or mailed or e-mailed to Matt Marsh, Upper Great Plains Regional 
Office, Western Area Power Administration, P.O. Box 35800, Billings, MT 
59107-5800, e-mail MMarsh@wapa.gov, telephone (800) 358-3415.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For additional information on the 
proposed Project, the EIS process, or to receive a copy of the Draft 
EIS when it is published, contact Matt Marsh at the addresses above. 
For general information on the DOE's NEPA review process, contact Carol 
M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, GC-54, 
U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC 
20585-0119, telephone (202) 586-4600 or (800) 472-2756, facsimile (202) 
586-7031.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Western is a Federal power marketing agency 
within the DOE that markets and delivers Federal wholesale electric 
power (principally hydroelectric power) to municipalities, rural 
electric cooperatives, public utilities, irrigation districts, Federal 
and State agencies, and Native American tribes in 15 western and 
central States. NextEra's proposed Project would be located within 
Western's Upper Great Plains Region, which operates in North and South 
Dakota, most of Montana, and portions of Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. 
NextEra applied to interconnect their proposed 150-MW Project with 
Western's existing Fort Thompson Substation in Buffalo County, South 
Dakota. The proposed wind farm Project would be located entirely on 
private lands; no State- or Federal-managed land would be affected. The 
transmission line connecting the proposed wind farm to Fort Thompson 
Substation would, however, cross lands of the Crow Creek Indian 
Reservation. There are no designated cooperating agencies at this time, 
but cooperating agencies could be identified at a later date.
    Western will prepare an EIS on the interconnection of the proposed 
Project in accordance with NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347); DOE NEPA 
Implementing Procedures (10 CFR part 1021), and the CEQ regulations for 
implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508).\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ On October 4, 1999, DOE's Assistant Secretary for 
Environmental, Safety and Health delegated to Western's 
Administrator the authority to approve EISs for integrating 
transmission facilities with Western's transmission grid.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Purpose and Need for Agency Action

    Western's need for agency action is precipitated by NextEra's 
application to interconnect with Western's power transmission system. 
Western needs to consider NextEra's interconnection request under 
Western's Tariff, which provides for open access to its transmission 
system through an interconnection if there is available capacity in the 
transmission system. This EIS will address Western's Federal action of 
interconnecting NextEra's proposed Project with Fort Thompson 
Substation, making changes within the substation to physically 
accomplish the interconnection, and making any necessary system 
modifications to accommodate the interconnection. Preliminary studies 
indicate that the power system can accommodate the proposed 
interconnection without negatively affecting system reliability or 
power deliveries to existing customers. The transmission system may 
require network and/or transmission system upgrades as determined in 
the final studies. Any such upgrades would be funded by NextEra as a 
condition of the interconnection.

[[Page 74041]]

Proposed Action

    In compliance with the provisions of the Tariff, and considering 
the environmental impacts of NextEra's proposed Project as identified 
by the EIS process, Western will consider NextEra's interconnection 
request. If approved the necessary changes within Fort Thompson 
Substation would be made to accomplish the interconnection, and power 
generated by the proposed Project would use Western's transmission 
system to reach the market. Western will consult with the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and with 
the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office under section 106 
of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Alternatives

    Western must respond to NextEra's proposed Project as it is 
described in the interconnection application, and make a decision on 
interconnection based on that application. However, Western will use 
the information in NextEra's interconnection request to evaluate 
possible options for transmission line approaches to Fort Thompson 
Substation. The location of the interconnection bay within the 
substation, other transmission lines, and any future development plans 
will all be considered in siting the approach. Under the no action 
alternative, Western would not approve the interconnection request, nor 
construct the interconnection facility.

Applicant's Proposed Project

    NextEra's proposed Project would consist of up to 100 wind turbine 
generators with a combined total generating capacity of 150 MW, located 
within an approximately 15,000-acre site in Hyde County, South Dakota, 
north of Fort Thompson Substation and Pierre. The turbines would be 
located in short east-west oriented strings, with the strings widely 
scattered over an area of roughly 6 by 7 miles in size. Each turbine 
would be approximately 389 feet tall from tip of blade to base, and 262 
feet tall from the ground to the hub. In addition to the turbines, 
other proposed Project facilities would include all-weather access 
roads to each turbine location; underground power collection lines 
linking turbines to the Project collector substation; the Project 
collector substation; an approximately 25-mile-long high-voltage 
transmission line linking the collector substation to Western's Fort 
Thompson Substation; operation and maintenance facilities and yard; 
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition equipment and metering 
equipment; and two or three permanent meteorological towers.
    NextEra plans to upgrade the existing East River Electric 
Cooperative (East River) 69-kilovolt (kV) transmission line that passes 
the west boundary of its site and continues south into Fort Thompson 
Substation to provide the necessary transmission link to the 
substation. NextEra would need to upgrade approximately 25 miles of the 
existing transmission line to 230-kV to provide a suitable transmission 
path for their proposed Project.
    While Western's Federal action is to consider the interconnection 
request and the physical interconnection to Western's existing 
substation, the EIS will also identify and review the environmental 
impacts of NextEra's proposed Project. NextEra will be responsible for 
completing necessary coordination with State and local agencies to 
permit their proposed Project.
    NextEra intends to provide renewable energy to local utilities in 
response to South Dakota's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards, passed 
in 2008, which mandate that 10 percent of all electricity consumed in 
the State be produced from renewable sources by 2015.

Floodplain or Wetland Involvement

    Since the proposed Project may involve action in floodplains or 
wetlands, this NOI also serves as a notice of proposed floodplain or 
wetland action. The EIS will include a floodplain/wetland assessment 
and floodplain/wetland statement of findings following DOE regulations 
for compliance with floodplain and wetlands environmental review (10 
CFR part 1022). NextEra intends to avoid disturbance to all wetland 
areas within the proposed Project area if possible.

Environmental Issues

    The location of the proposed Project is in a relatively sparsely 
populated portion of eastern South Dakota. The area is characterized by 
extensive agriculture and pasture with scattered farmsteads on section 
line roads. NextEra has secured leases with willing landowners for its 
wind generation turbines and related facilities. Available overview 
information indicates this area has a relatively low probability of 
substantial natural resources conflicts. NextEra's siting process for 
the wind turbine strings and associated facilities considered sensitive 
resources, and the proposed Project was designed to avoid these areas. 
The EIS will evaluate the level of impact the interconnection and 
NextEra's proposed Project would have on environmental resources within 
the 15,000-acre site, which may lead to minor modifications in the 
proposed Project to further avoid or minimize resource impacts. While 
no substantive resource conflicts have been identified thus far, the 
EIS will analyze the potential impacts on potentially affected 
environmental resources. Wind farm projects are generally known to have 
visual and noise effects, and may affect birds and bats.

Public Participation

    Interested parties are invited to participate in the scoping 
process to help define the scope, significant resources, and issues to 
be analyzed in depth, and to eliminate from detailed study issues that 
are not pertinent. The scoping process will involve all interested 
agencies (Federal, State, county, and local), Native American tribes, 
public interest groups, businesses, affected landowners, and individual 
members of the public.
    Western will consult with the Crow Creek Sioux and other 
potentially affected or interested tribes to jointly evaluate and 
address the potential effects on cultural resources, traditional 
cultural properties, or other resources important to the tribes. These 
nation-to-nation consultations will be conducted in accordance with 
Executive Order 13175, Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments (65 FR 67249), the President's memorandum of April 29, 
1994, Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments (59 FR 22951), DOE-specific guidance on tribal 
interactions, and applicable natural and cultural resources laws and 
regulations.
    A public scoping meeting will be held as described under DATES and 
ADDRESSES above. The meeting will be informal, and attendees will be 
able to speak directly with Western and NextEra representatives about 
the proposed Project. The public is encouraged to provide information 
and comments on issues it believes Western should address in the EIS. 
Comments may be broad in nature or restricted to specific areas of 
concern. After gathering comments on the scope of the EIS, Western will 
address those issues raised in the EIS. Comments on the interconnection 
and NextEra's proposed Project will be accepted at any time during the 
EIS process, and may be directed to Western as described under 
ADDRESSES above.
    Western's EIS process will include the public scoping meetings; 
consultation and coordination with appropriate Federal, State, county, 
and local

[[Page 74042]]

agencies and tribal governments; involvement with affected landowners; 
distribution of and public review and comment on the Draft EIS; a 
formal public hearing or hearings on the Draft EIS; distribution of a 
published Final EIS; and publication of Western's Record of Decision in 
the Federal Register.

    Dated: November 19, 2010.
Timothy J. Meeks,
Administrator.
[FR Doc. 2010-30068 Filed 11-29-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P