South Dakota recently saw an announcement for its largest wind farm to date and is seeing other value-added economic activity being figuratively blown in by the wind.
This spring, a wind farm near Wessington Springs was unveiled that will include 34 large wind turbines, each 262 feet tall and a turbine diameter almost as wide, spread over 3,000 acres. That's seven more than the 27-turbine farm near Highmore. Soil testing and other work will ensue over the summer, and construction is expected in 2008.
In March, the state also became home to a new wind blade manufacturing and repair plant owned by Knight and Carver Yacht Center, a San Diego company that specializes in building and repairing large vessels, but added a wind blade division about a decade ago. Located in Howard, the plant is expected to employ 25 people immediately, and expand to 50 workers within two years. The one downside: According to local reports, the company is having difficulty finding workers filling even the first 25 positions.
—Ronald A. Wirtz