The Crow Lake wind project, built by Basin Electric subsidiary PrairieWinds SD I Inc., is complete and operational. The project is owned solely by a cooperative and has a community wind investment partnership.
The last turbine of the $363 million wind project, located near Chamberlain, S.D., was commissioned on Feb. 27. Construction on the project began in October 2010. Crews from contractors Wanzek and GE worked for nearly five months to complete the project. GE began commissioning the turbines shortly after construction started, and turbines were tied in, tested and cleared as they were built.
The entire project consists of 108 GE 1.5 MW. One hundred of the turbines will be owned and operated by PrairieWinds SD I. One turbine has been sold to the Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell, S.D., to be used as part of the school's wind turbine technology program. The school will sell the turbine's output to Basin Electric. The remaining seven turbines are owned by a group of local community investors called the South Dakota Wind Partners.
PrairieWinds constructed the seven turbines for the Wind Partners and will operate them. Through PrairieWinds, Basin Electric will purchase the 10.5 MW of electricity produced from those turbines.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created a new tax-grant option allowing small investors to access government incentives and tax benefits, making public wind ownership possible.
‘This development model created opportunity for small, local investors to have direct local ownership in wind energy and access the tax benefits previously reserved for large equity investors,’ says Jeff Nelson, general manager for East River Electric Power Cooperative.
Though the Crow Lake project is operational, work at the site is expected to continue into summer. Reclamation and clean-up will complete the project. Roads and disturbed land will be repaired or reclaimed and re-seeded. This will take several months, depending on weather conditions, according to Basin Electric.
SOURCE: Basin Electric Power Cooperative