The 51-megawatt (MW) Wessington Springs Wind Farm will provide clean and renewable energy to the University of South Dakota (USD) and South Dakota State University (SDSU), which become the first universities in the Midwest to be powered with 100% renewable energy.
"The Wessington Springs Wind Farm is a great example of South Dakota's vast potential for future wind energy development," said South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds. "This new wind farm will help encourage the further development of wind energy throughout our great state."
"By harnessing the strong wind resources in South Dakota, we are creating a new and sustainable source of clean energy that will help to power two state universities and also address the area's growing power needs," said Hunter Armistead, head of Babcock & Brown's North American Renewable Energy Group. "We're pleased to begin operations at Wessington Springs, which is Babcock & Brown's first wind farm in South Dakota and increases our total number of operational wind farms across the country to 21."
"We were looking for a premiere wind developer, and we found that in Babcock & Brown," said Heartland General Manager Mike McDowell.
"This project will have a significant impact on the economy and community of Wessington Springs and the surrounding area, and will be a tremendous energy producer for Heartland. With the Wessington Springs Wind Project, Heartland is the first utility in our state with 20% of its power supply as renewable resources."
Heartland Consumers Power District and the State of South Dakota entered a long-term contract in 1976 to supply power to South Dakota State University (SDSU) and The University of South Dakota (USD). The State recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Heartland to declare that both universities will now use 100% renewable energy.
The Wessington Springs Wind Farm consists of 34 new General Electric 1.5 megawatt (MW) wind turbines, generating enough clean and renewable energy to power 15,000 homes per year. Construction of the wind farm began in the spring of 2008. The power produced will connect to the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) transmission system and be purchased by Heartland through a long-term power purchase agreement.