Power agreement credits tribe with solar power projects


The Flandreau City Council has approved an agreement to allow a solar power benefit to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe.
The council approved the solar interconnection and power purchase agreement with the tribe and Missouri River Energy Services for small renewable power generation. Missouri River Energy is the wholesale provider of power to Flandreau.
Under the agreement, the power supplier will purchase any power generated by the tribe’s 10 small solar projects in Flandreau and the city will give the tribe billing credit at the rate of 3.14 cents per kilowatt hour.
City Administrator Jeff Pederson said the project is innovative and exciting. It will mean that while the city will give up some revenue, it also will need to buy less power at a higher rate.
Lacy Neuenfeldt, a lawyer for the tribe, said the tribe is starting out with small steps by installing the solar power for ten location, including the new clinic and community center but not the Royal River Casino. “We’ll see how this goes,” she told council members at the June 15 meeting. There is a plan for an 11th site.
The tribe started installing the solar equipment last year.
Alderman Jason Unger said the project has been on the radar as something that could be developed, and it is a great opportunity to partner with the tribe. “Any loss is an overall gain,” he said of the possibility of the city generating fewer dollars because of the project.
In other business,
•An engineering company has been able to do an analysis of the river for the possible Flandreau dam conversion project, Pederson said. Results should be back in three or four months, indicating what the alternatives are, he said.
“If we do do something, that’s a big project,” he said. A project could cost hundreds of thousands, maybe up to a million dollars, he said.
•The city will talk about how it will reopen use of the William J. Janklow Community Center to large events, such as wedding receptions. The city wants CDC guidelines to be followed by anyone renting the space. “I think it’s a stretch to simply rely on folks to simply take care of that themselves,” he said.
The city council will have its next meeting at 6:30 p.m. July 6 at the community center so that council members and the public are able to social distance.
•The council approved the final pay request for $149,317 to Dakota Directional LLC for phase four of the electric improvements project for the city.
“This essentially completes the project,” Pederson said. “It’s the end of a multi-year project that’s going to serve this community for decades into the future.”
Mayor Mark Bonrud said the project makes service safer and more economical for Flandreau. “This was long overdue.”
•The city will pursue CARES grant money for $20,000 for use at the airport. The money is part of the grants available because of loss of income during the COVID-19 pandemic. One expense that the money might cover would be a dedicated mower for the airport, Pederson said.

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