GE today announced that its 15,000th megawatt-class wind turbine has been installed at Basin Electric Power Cooperative’s Crow Lake wind farm in South Dakota; one of 108 GE 1.5 megawatt (MW) turbines recently commissioned at the site. The turbine, which will be owned and operated by Mitchell Technical Institute (MTI) through an agreement with Basin Electric, will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students enrolled in MTI’s Wind Turbine Technology Program.
“The shipment of our 15,000th megawatt-class wind turbine demonstrates the key role that this technology has played in supporting the rapid development of the wind industry in North America and worldwide,” said Victor Abate, vice president-renewable energy for GE Power & Water. “We are pleased to know that this milestone turbine will help to support future green technology jobs and will be instrumental to the training of the next generation of wind turbine technicians.”
The project was made possible by a grant awarded to MTI by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Additional funding was provided by the South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, General Electric and MTI. MTI’s Wind Turbine Technology program, launched in 2009, provides highly trained technicians to the expanding wind industry.
Construction at Crow Lake, which has generated 200 construction jobs, according to Basin Electric, began in October of 2010. The Crow Lake project spans three counties in South Dakota and is the largest wind project in the United States owned solely by a cooperative, with a capacity of 151.5 megawatts.
“We are excited to be a part of this milestone, working with our member systems, MTI and GE to shape the future of this industry,” said Ron Harper, general manager and CEO of Basin Electric. “This achievement reflects our shared commitment to wind power as a source of clean energy for our members.”
“This project represents a nearly perfect example of public and private, education and industry, business and government working together,” added MTI President Greg Von Wald.
Basin Electric, which serves 135 rural electrical systems in nine states, including East River Electric Power Cooperative, Madison, S.D., is a recognized leader of wind energy development in the Upper Midwest and has added approximately 451 megawatts of wind energy to its energy portfolio in the past decade.
Offering proven performance and reliability, GE's 1.5-megawatt wind turbine is the most widely used megawatt-class wind turbine in the world. This machine has been successfully installed in nearly every wind regime, terrain and climate worldwide. The 1.5-MW fleet has accumulated nearly 300 million operating hours and has generated 1.4 billion megawatt-hours of electricity, enough to power 6.5 million U.S. homes. In 2010, GE’s global fleet of 1.5-MW wind turbines maintained over 98 percent availability.