With all the wind in South Dakota, seeing more wind turbines on the horizon would only seem to make sense. Xcel Energy Spokesman, Kent Larson, says “As you all know South Dakota has been called the Saudi Arabia of wind with tremendous potential to provide clean, reliable energy to our customers. ”
Thursday’s announcement of a new 150-Megawatt wind power project, set to share the border between South Dakota and Minnesota, is significant because that potential is slowly becoming reality. Gary Hanson, with South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, says, “This means the breaking of the ground and the pioneering on the eastern side is just going to grow exponentially.”
Before now, wind farms have been slow to gain a foothold in the state. But now, significant partnerships are beginning to change that. The Legislature and Governor Mike Rounds have come together to create property tax incentives for wind power construction in the state. PPM Energy is partnering with Xcel Energy to build the wind farm, and Minnesota is working with South Dakota to transmit the power that is created.
South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds says, “So much of the population is just right next door to us in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area and farther beyond that in the Wisconsin area. So what you’ve got to have are these new transmission lines or the upgrading of those transmission lines.”
And now that that groundwork is in place. The state’s renewable energy plans are looking up. Rounds says, “The sky’s the limit. We have huge potential.”
The new project will produce about 50-Megawatts of power in Brookings County and 100-Megawatts in Lincoln County, Minnesota. It is expected to create about 200 jobs during construction in the next year, and also provide several hundred thousand dollars a year in property taxes.
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