Energy Department Honors South Dakota and Alaska Electric Cooperatives with 2012 Wind Cooperative of the Year Awards

February 21, 2013

The Energy Department today recognized the East River Electric Power Cooperative of South Dakota and the Golden Valley Electric Association of Alaska as the 2012 Wind Cooperatives of the Year.

The 12th annual awards, presented at the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) TechAdvantage 2013 Conference and Expo in New Orleans, honor East River in the generation and transmission cooperative category and Golden Valley for wind energy development by a distribution cooperative. East River and Golden Valley were selected by a panel of experts from the wind industry, utilities, government, national laboratories, and cooperatives.

East River Electric Power Cooperative—Madison, South Dakota

A wholesale electric power supply cooperative serving eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota, East River Electric Power Cooperative is regarded as one of the earliest champions in installing the first utility-scale wind turbines in the Dakotas. In 2009, the co-op created South Dakota Wind Partners LLC (SDWP)—a model for community-based, locally-owned wind development that is fully financed by South Dakota residents. In 2010, SDWP proposed a 10.5 megawatt (MW) addition to the 151 MW Prairie Winds SD1 project and worked with East River to convene investor meetings across the state. This approach helped raise $16 million in just 60 days with investments from more than 600 South Dakotans. The 10.5 MW project has been in operation since 2011, and is a community financing model for clean, domestic wind power that other providers can emulate.

Golden Valley Electric Association—Fairbanks, Alaska

Golden Valley Electric Association is focused on generating 20% of its peak load electricity—power supplied when customer demand is highest—from renewable energy by 2014. As part of this commitment, Golden Valley developed the 25 MW Eva Creek Wind Farm in Ferry, Alaska in 2012. The remote site is located at the end of a 10-mile dirt road, contributing to unique construction challenges. All materials arrived by railroad before being transported by truck along a road that had to be widened and straightened to accommodate the 147-foot-long blades. The Eva Creek Wind Farm project is expected to help the cooperative meet its renewable goals ahead of schedule, reduce dependence on oil, and save Golden Valley members as much as $4 million in annual electricity costs by the end of 2013.

The Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates development and facilitates deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality. For more information on DOE's Wind Powering America outreach and stakeholder engagement initiative, visit the Wind Powering America website.

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