Crow Lake Wind Farm
As their blades rotate in the strong South Dakota winds, the 108 turbines at Crow Lake Wind Farm generate clean electricity that displaces energy sourced from dirty fossil fuels. Along with avoiding emissions, the turbines are also used to educate students at a nearby technical college and prepare them for careers as wind technicians, and the ongoing operation of the wind farm supports local jobs.
Where & Why
With its sprawling prairies and some of the strongest winds in the United States, South Dakota is an ideal location for wind energy generation. Yet for many years, the state’s wind energy potential was largely untapped. In 2010, only 14% of South Dakota’s electricity came from wind energy while the remainder was primarily from fossil fuels and hydroelectric sources.
Over the past decade, many new wind farms were built across South Dakota. Now, thousands of wind turbines dot the state’s rural farmlands and open plains. As a result, more than half (54%) of South Dakota’s electricity is now produced by clean, renewable wind energy.
How & Who
This carbon offset project supports the Crow Lake Wind Farm which sits on 36,000 acres of land near Chamberlain, South Dakota. The wind farm consists of 108 turbines which began operating in 2011. Prior to its construction, an environmental impact assessment was conducted to minimize negative impacts on grasslands, bird populations, and other natural resources.
Altogether, the wind turbines are expected to produce around 513,000 megawatt hours of clean electricity each year. This is enough to power more than 43,000 average American homes. This energy is delivered to a bulk transmission system which provides electricity to numerous states including Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. By displacing energy from fossil fuel power plants with zero emissions wind energy, the Crow Lake Wind Farm avoids an average of 430,000 metric tons of carbon emissions each year.
Along with generating clean energy, the wind farm also supports career development for local communities. Since one of the wind turbines at Crow Lake is owned by a local technical college, students can gain hands-on experience climbing and maintaining it as they train to become wind turbine technicians. The wind farm itself directly employs 11 people.
- Fights climate change by generating clean, renewable wind energy
- Provides a training ground for students who are preparing for a career in wind turbine technology
- Supports local jobs
Annual CO2 Reduction
432,128 metric tons CO2e (annual average for crediting period)
Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC)
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