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S.D. wind project suspended for lack of customers

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- A wind project in central South Dakota's Hyde County has been suspended by its developer.

Officials with NextEra Energy Resources said the 150-megawatt project is still active, but the Juno Beach, Fla., company has put the permitting process on hold.

"We have not canceled the project," company spokesman Steve Stengel told the Argus Leader.

But he said the company needs to "identify a customer" before moving forward with its plans.

NextEra operates three wind farms in South Dakota: a 99-megawatt project in Day County, a 40-megawatt project in Hyde County and a 51-megawatt project in Jerauld County.

Steve Wegman, who has been executive director of the South Dakota Wind Energy Association and will start a new job next month as an analyst at the South Dakota Renewable Energy Association, said the broader point is that the state's wind industry needs to reach new customers.

Earlier this year, NextEra halted an environmental review for Crowned Ridge, the company's proposed 150-megawatt project in Codington and Grant counties.