Mobridge Weather

41°F
wind speed: 9 mph SE
 

Turning turbines harnessing South Dakota wind

Along a ridge not far from Pollock, 55 turbines reach into the clouds, harnessing South Dakota’s wind to generate electricity.
The Campbell County Windfarm south of Pollock, as of Dec. 31, is fully operational reported John Labiak of Con Edison Development. Con Edison owns and operates renewable and energy infrastructure projects and is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc, the nation’s oldest and one of the largest investor-owned energy companies.
The 94-megawatt (MW) wind farm consists of 55 1.7- MW General Electric wind turbines. The 55 towers can provide enough electricity to power approximately 25,000 homes for a year. A megawatt is 1 million watts of power.
The project can generate approximately 400,000 MW of power annually.
“There are a few bugs here and there that need to be worked out,” said Labiak. “Construction is not 100 percent done. There is some finish work to be completed in the spring.”
He said mechanically all 55 towers were online by the Dec. 31 target date. There is a maintenance building on the site that needs completion, which Labiak said is expected in April or early May.
Labiak said although the capacity of the project is 400,000 MW of power, that may not be what is generated at the site.
“Because the field is so large (8,000 acres) not all of the turbines will be turning at once,” said Labiak. “Wind is very, very specific. If you stand on four different corners of the area, there may not be wind at all four corners.”
Labiak said the wind studies are very exact and each study is site-specific. For example, the studies completed for the Campbell County site would not apply to other sites in the area.
“Some of the turbines on the site are close together while others are spread far apart,” Labiak said. “That is because of the results of this wind study.”
The turbines also have an automatic shutdown safety feature to keep the towers from being damaged in higher wind gusts. The optimum wind for production is 30 mph. At 54 mph the turbines will rotate into the wind to stop the blades from turning.
Electricity generated from the facility is contracted to the Basin Electric Power Cooperative under a 30-year power purchase agreement. The wind farm is interconnected with the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) transmission system.
– Katie Zerr –