Dakota Wind Energy, LLC, a community-owned wind development company in South Dakota, now has more than 40,000 acres of land under option for development.
This is over half the acres needed to build South Dakota's largest community-based wind farm in Day, Roberts and Marshall Counties. The project is planned for a capacty of 750 megawatts (MW), requiring 75,000 acres.
"Most landowners who have granted Dakota Wind Energy wind related rights are choosing to become owners in the project company," Pete Karlsson, a local project field specialist, said. "Everyone involved in this development is extremely dedicated to creating a project that gives landowners the opportunity for potential long-term ownership benefits. These are benefits non-community-based wind development cannot offer."
Site control is an important part of Dakota Wind Energy?s development process, the company said. The local project field specialists in the area, Pete Karlsson, Charlie Kraemer and Brian Stuart, will continue working with landowners on a frequent basis. Dakota Wind Energy hopes to build its first project phase in the next 3 to 5 years.
"We expect our project to be here for the long-term and we want to be proud of how it fits in with the community," says Mark Lucas, Vice President of National Wind, the manager of Dakota Wind Energy. "Not only is this project designed to provide landowners with a potential income resource and keep additional dollars within the community, we expect it will also provide a source of skilled sustainable jobs to the project area."
Wind Powering America and the National Renewable Energy Lab report that every 100 megawatts of installed wind capacity creates, on average, 10-20 permanent, local wind jobs and 40-140 temporary, construction jobs, including meteorologists, surveyors, structural engineers, assembly workers, lawyers, bankers, and technicians.
Windustry reports that wind energy creates 30% more jobs than a coal plant and 66% more than a nuclear power plant per unit of energy generated.
"We want this project to have a positive, local impact on the community and we are confident that we are heading in that direction," says Karlsson. "We expect our project alone to add about 75-150 permanent, local jobs and about 300-1000 temporary, construction jobs to the three-county area."