New business blowing into the state

South Dakota State Roundup

Published January 1, 2008  | January 2008 issue

Like many other states, South Dakota is seeing a storm of interest in its wind assets. In October, Clipper Windpower of Carpinteria, Calif., announced intentions to build the largest wind farm in the United States, spreading wind turbines across several counties in South Dakota to generate 6,000 megawatts of electricity. That is about eight times larger than the biggest existing wind farm in terms of generation, which is in Texas and has about 420 turbines. Clipper Windpower builds and operates 2.5 megawatt turbines, and the proposal would require some 2,400 of them, but the project is still in the planning stage in terms of both available sites and sales of the electricity produced. Even under good conditions, construction of the project could be years off.

But there are plenty of other wind projects in the state—enough to have quadrupled wind power in the past year from 44 megawatts to about 185, according to the state's Economic Development Office. Two other wind projects either are in the construction phase or will be this spring.

In November, Molded Fiber Glass Companies also broke ground on a new wind turbine manufacturing plant in Aberdeen employing up to 750 people.

Ronald A. Wirtz