Published September 1, 2003 | September 2003 issue
South Dakota will enter a new era in electricity production this fall, when the state's largest wind farm is expected to open 10 miles south of Highmore. The 27 turbines will generate 40 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the needs of 10,000 households. California-based FPL Energy, a national leader in wind energy, developed the $42 million South Dakota Wind Energy Center and will own and operate it.
Many factors contributed to the development of the wind farm, including a tax break approved by the Legislature July 1. The motors and blades on top of the turbines will be exempted from the property tax, but the state will still see increased revenue from taxes on the concrete bases and steel towers. The development of the wind farm also depended on a contract by Basin Electric to purchase the output for the next 25 years. South Dakota State University will explore five other possible locations for wind farms in the state with the help of a $50,000 grant from FPL Energy.