GEWindturbines Photo credit: GE Energy

South Dakota Wind Farm to Power 5,000 Homes

A parcel of land in Clark County, S.D., will soon serve as a wind farm providing enough electricity to power approximately 5,000 homes in the region for a year. A portion of the 7,000-plus acre Oak Tree Lodge family farm and hunting lodge owned by Bill Makens is now home to a soon-to-open wind power installation comprised of eleven General Electric 1.85-87 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 19.5 megawatts.

Makens partnered with regional contractors Diversified Energy Solutions of Gary, S.D., and with Consulting Engineers Group of Farmington, Min., to design and build the project. Juhl Energy of Pipestone, Minn., provided development support services. Consolidated Edison Development, a New York -based developer and operator of large-scale renewable energy projects, recently closed an agreement with Makens to acquire and operate the project.

“For more than 114 years, the Makens family has proudly demonstrated our love for South Dakota’s land and its natural resources,” said Makens.  “Over the generations, our family has been fortunate to serve as environmental stewards of our holdings, while also finding ways our property can serve the community at large. To ensure this exciting initiative fulfills its maximum potential, we have forged a partnership with ConEdison Development, one of America’s most successful and highly regarded developers of renewable energy.”

The project, which will generate approximately 71,000 MWh of power annually, was scheduled to be operational by the end of December. Electricity generated from the facility is contracted to NorthWestern Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement.  The wind farm is interconnected with NorthWestern Energy and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) transmission systems.

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