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Utilities commission rules against wind power producer

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission has ruled against an alternative energy producer seeking to force rural electric cooperatives to buy the wind power it plans to generate.

Wisconsin-based Prelude LLC tried to use the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act, or PURPA, to get six co-ops to purchase its electricity. PURPA requires utilities in specific circumstances to buy alternative energy and applies to rate-regulated utilities.

Under South Dakota law, however, rural electric co-ops aren’t rate-regulated. Commissioners say the state Legislature doesn’t allow that.

The cooperatives involved in the dispute were Moreau-Grand Electric in Timber Lake, Rosebud Electric in Gregory, Butte Electric in Newell, Rushmore Electric in Rapid City, Grand Electric in Bison, and North Dakota’s Basin Electric.

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