PPM Energy and Xcel Energy broke ground last month on the 150 MW MinnDakota Wind Power Project. As its name suggests, the project straddles two states with approximately 50 MW located in Brookings County, South Dakota and 100 MW in Lincoln County in Minnesota. It is also among a handful of projects that recently received a green light for construction from the Federal Aviation Administration after months of uncertainty over radar concerns, particularly in the Midwest. The 50 MW will be the largest installation of wind power in South Dakota, a state with vast wind resources but transmission issues that, until now, have made it difficult to get the power from the wind to cities and other electrical loads. Xcel Energy says its recent and ongoing transmission upgrades in the upper Midwest have helped make MinnDakota and similar future wind projects possible. The MinnDakota project interconnects at Xcel's newly approved Yankee substation and power generated by the plant will be delivered under a long term contract to customers of Xcel Energy. MinnDakota will use 100 GE 1.5 MW turbines in Minnesota and South Dakota spanning approximately 15,000 acres owned by 70 landowners. Like most other US projects eyeing the end-2007 deadline for expiration yet again of wind's federal production tax credit, construction is scheduled for completion next year.
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