This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

February 16, 2011

USDA Boosts Rural Wind Energy with Loan Guarantee

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on February 9 the selection of Basin Electric Power Cooperative to receive a $204 million loan guarantee funded by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service. The guarantee is for 60% of the total $340 million project costs of the PrairieWinds wind farm energy project in central South Dakota. The cooperative plans to construct more than 100 wind turbines to produce 151.5 megawatts (MW) of electricity. When completed, the turbines will join the cooperative's other electric generation projects to meet the needs of 2.8 million customers served by 135 distribution systems in nine states. The loan guarantee will provide financing for engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning of the wind farm.

This is the latest wind energy addition for Basin Electric, which developed its first wind project—two turbines just north of Chamberlain, South Dakota, in 2001. That was followed by another two turbines south of Minot, North Dakota. Since then, Basin Electric has developed more than 450 MG of power in the Dakotas, including several projects with NextEra Energy Resources. When the PrairieWinds project is completed, Basin Electric will have more than 700 MG of wind generation capacity in its portfolio. See the USDA press release.