Throwback Thursday: November 2001

The PrairieWinds Chamberlain Wind Project, a joint project between Basin Electric and Class A member East River Electric Power Cooperative, Madison, South Dakota, went commercial Jan. 7, 2002. The project consisted of two wind turbines – each with a generating capacity of 1.3 megawatts – near Chamberlain, South Dakota. These were two of South Dakota’s first commercial wind turbines.

The initial PrairieWinds wind turbines stood tall near Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Years later, the Crow Lake Wind Project was constructed near White Lake, South Dakota, in addition to the initial Chamberlain turbines. The wind project of 108 turbines began operating in 2011.

Recently, the original two turbines were decommissioned as they were at the end of their useful life and replacement parts are no longer available. As their story comes to an end, look back at their beginning by reading about the groundbreaking of PrairieWinds in 2001.

From the November 2001 issue of Basin Today story, “Groundbreaking gets PrairieWinds under way”:

More than 75 people attended groundbreaking ceremonies Sept. 7 for a $2.9 million wind generation project located near Chamberlain, SD.

At a luncheon ceremony in Chamberlain, Ron Harper, Basin Electric’s CEO and general manager, said Basin Electric has been a leader in the energy industry for 40 years. “We’re excited to be the first in South Dakota to add wind generation to our family of power plants,” he said. “This is a day to celebrate. It marks a new era in the history of South Dakota and Basin Electric. I’m proud that we are part of this impressive project. I think all rural electric consumers in the region should also be proud."

Download a PDF to read the full story, on page 19: Basin Today November 2001

Tossing the first shovel of dirt at the groundbreaking were representatives from Basin Electric, East River Electric, and local dignitaries.
Construction began immediately following groundbreaking ceremonies.


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