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Associated Press, Published May 17 2011

ND co-op dedicating $363 million SD wind farm

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — North Dakota-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative set a June date for a dedication ceremony marking the completion of a $363 million wind farm in South Dakota.

The Crow Lake Wind farm just east of Chamberlain began operating in late February after about five months of construction. The 108-turbine, 162-megawatt farm is the largest wind project in the country owned solely by a co-op, with 150 megawatts owned by Basin subsidiary PrairieWinds SD1 Inc., the company said. That distinction had gone to another large Basin project near Minot, N.D.

"This is a pretty huge project for us," Basin spokesman Daryl Hill told the Black Hills Pioneer. "It's going to be generating a lot of energy."

One megawatt of wind energy can power about 350 homes, the newspaper said. Basin provides electricity to 135 rural electric systems in nine states.

The dedication ceremony is set for 10:30 a.m. on June 23, Hill told The Associated Press on Monday. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is to speak.

South Dakota Wind Energy Association spokesman Steve Wegman told the Pioneer that the wind farm is the largest capital improvement project finished in a single construction season in South Dakota.

"We are very fortunate to have something like this in South Dakota," he said. "I hope it opens the door to more (wind energy) investors."