Wind Farm Approved that Stretches Across Minnesota – South Dakota Border

October 06, 2006

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on September 21 approved the construction of the 150-megawatt (MW) MinnDakota Wind Power Project. The project, which will use 100 GE 1.5-MW turbines, spans approximately 15,000 acres owned by 70 landowners; it includes 50 MW in South Dakota and 100 MW in Minnesota. Construction is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007. PPM Energy and Xcel Energy are partnering to bring the project online.

This project is one of more than 600 wind farms—which represent 1000 MW of new wind power across Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Illinois—that have recently been approved by the FAA. It also represents the largest wind power project in South Dakota, which is a state with one of the largest wind energy resources in the country.

South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds said, "South Dakota is pleased to host the largest installation to date of wind energy. … South Dakota is committed to ensuring that the investment environment for wind energy in the state remains strong and looks forward to further expansion of wind energy."

Approval of the project was delayed until a U.S. Department of Defense report was published that detailed how wind turbines interact with military radar. The report noted that in certain circumstances, wind turbines can impede radar systems and operations. It also stated that the construction of wind farms should proceed as long as the turbines do not affect radar. Read EERE's October 5 news story titled "Report Details Wind Turbine Interactions with Military Radars."

For more information, read PPM's September 21 press release.