A South Dakota generation company has energised four NEG Micon wind turbines with a combined capacity of 3.6 MW near Worthington on the southern edge of Buffalo Ridge in southwest Minnesota. Missouri River Energy Services of Sioux Falls, which provides electric power to 55 municipalities in North and South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, says it is promoting wind energy by building wind turbines near its member communities. The next likely site, according to the utility's Jeff Peters, will be at Watertown, South Dakota. Missouri River Energy currently gets most of its power from a low-cost coal generator in Wyoming, but Peters believes the utility will eventually be forced by state or federal mandate to construct wind turbines. "We wanted to stay ahead of the curve," he says. The utility contracted with NEG Micon to erect four of its 900 kW Arctic models. They came on-line in July and logged a 31% capacity factor in their first week of operation during a month that is normally low in wind resources, says Peters. The city of Worthington and Wisconsin Public Power Inc shared the costs of a dedicated distribution line into the facility. The utility is marketing the wind energy under the RiverWinds trademark in 100 kWh blocks. Most member utilities will charge their customers $1.50 premium for each block.