Gov. Mike Rounds to dedicate the Day County Wind Energy Center

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds and local community leaders today joined officials from NextEra Energy Resources, the largest wind power and solar energy producer in North America, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, Western Area Power Administration and East River Electric Power Cooperative to dedicate the Day County Wind Energy Center.

More than 150 local and regional guests joined the governor and company officials at a site near Groton to celebrate the commercial operation of the 99-megawatt (MW) Day County Wind Energy Center and the organizations that helped make the facility a reality.

“It’s extremely gratifying to see this impressive wind farm project in our state,” Gov. Rounds said. “South Dakota has an abundance of wind, and we hope it will continue to be harnessed far and wide in the future to make clean energy, boost local economies, provide good jobs, and add to the already excellent quality of life enjoyed by South Dakota citizens.”

Located in Day County about 20 miles east of Groton, the Day County Wind Energy Center has a generating capacity of 99 MW and is capable of providing enough power for nearly 25,000 homes. Commercial operation of the 66, 1.5-MW wind turbines began in April 2010.

“The Day County Wind Energy Center is the latest example of NextEra Energy Resources ongoing commitment to expanding renewable energy projects in South Dakota and across the United States,” said Mike O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources.

“In addition to generating clean, emission-free energy, this project will have an impact on the local economy through the jobs created, taxes paid, lease payments to landowners, and goods and services sourced locally.”

Basin Electric will eventually purchase the entire output from the wind farm, but electricity produced in the first three years of operation will be sold to the Western Area Power Administration, a federal power-marketing agency.

“Basin Electric and its member systems are leaders in helping to develop wind projects in the Dakotas,” said Ron Harper, CEO and general manager of Basin Electric. “In just five months, a lot of hard work by a lot of people brought this project from the drawing board to reality. I’m very proud of our efforts in providing renewable generation to our members and incorporating it with an already efficient fleet of generation facilities.”

“It’s tremendously exciting to be part of the Day County Wind Energy Center Dedication. This short-term purchase fits our strategic goals for purchasing replacement power and promotes renewable resources. As we deliver cost-based, renewable, non-carbon emitting federal hydropower to our firm customers, Western Area Power Administration continually recognizes the enormous value in customer partnerships. This Day County agreement is just one example of many successful partnerships Western has with Basin Electric,” said Western’s Administrator Tim Meeks.

“East River is pleased to be a part of expanding the use of wind energy for both its members and Basin Electric. East River’s workforce demonstrated exceptional efforts building transmission to energize this project. We are pleased to be an integral part of making this project happen,” says Jeff Nelson, East River general manager.

The Day County project is NextEra Energy Resources’ third wind power project in South Dakota. Through its affiliates, the company also owns and operates the 40.5-MW South Dakota Wind Energy Center in Hyde County and the 51-MW Wessington Springs Wind Energy Center in Jerauld County.

In total, NextEra Energy Resources currently operates more than 9,000 wind turbines in 17 states and Canada that are capable of generating enough power for more than 1.9 million average homes.

NextEra Energy Resources, LLC is a clean energy leader and one of the largest competitive energy suppliers in North America. A subsidiary of Juno Beach, Fla.-based NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE: FPL), NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator in North America of renewable energy from the wind and sun.

It operates clean, emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin as part of the NextEra Energy nuclear fleet, which is the third largest in the United States. NextEra Energy had 2009 revenues of more than $15 billion, nearly 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, and more than 15,000 employees in 28 states and Canada.

Basin Electric is a consumer-owned, regional cooperative headquartered in Bismarck, N.D. It generates and transmits electricity to 135 member rural electric systems in nine states: Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. These member systems distribute electricity to about 2.8 million consumers.

East River Electric Power Cooperative is a wholesale electric power supply cooperative distributing power to 25 member systems throughout eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota. As members of Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives, East River members serve more than 92,000 homes and businesses affecting 250,000 consumers over a 36,000 square mile service area.

Western Area Power Administration is a Federal agency that annually markets and transmits more than 10,000 megawatts of clean, renewable power from hydroelectric power plants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy.