WRAN news



Tatanka Wind Farm: Near Long Valley, Acciona Wind Energy USA, a parent company of Tatanka is in the process of putting up South Dakota’s most recent wind farm. Massive trucks as wide as the roads are starting to build 60 towers in the isolated area north of Long Lake. The Wind farm stretches for miles north-south and east-west. A collection of temporary buildings and mobile units at construction headquarters north of town give the impression that a new town has sprouted near McPherson County. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Numerous concrete foundations for the towers are in place, and some tower sections and windmill blades lie on the ground awaiting installation.

Power potential: Tatanka plans to feed the power it generates into the Montana-Dakota Utilities system. The project is slated to produce fewer than 90 megawatts in South Dakota.



White Wind Farm: The wind farm will be Located in Northeastern Brookings County. South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission has approved a construction permit for 103 turbines. It will be Brookings County’s second major wind farm.  The first wind project in Brookings County is the Minn-Dakota Wind Farm, which is being built by PPM Energy. If everything goes as planned, ground breaking will begin in 2008 and will be completed in a year.  The total cost of the White Wind Farm will be around $300 million dollars. The project is a subsidiary of Navitas Energy of Minneapolis.


                                                                                        Figure 1 White Wind Farm Parameters


Wessington Springs: Heartland Consumers Power District and Babcock & Brown want to construct a Wind Farm in the vicinity; however they have some environmentally related obstacles. Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), an agency of the U.S. Department of energy, is in the process of doing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the project area. Avian habitats, such as the Whooping Crane, have created their dwelling in the region. Today WAPA is contacting South Dakota’s Game, Fish, and Parks as well as other Naturalist Associations to find out what type of studies need to be completed. WAPA wants to be sure the new Wind Farm causes as a minimal amount of disturbance to the environment. When the Environmental Assessment is done, the next step will be to do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and finally a Record of Decision (ROD) will be written up and given its stamp of approval. Finally the information will be made public for comments. If the public finds that there are no major problems, the WAPA foresees the groundbreaking will begin in 2008.


May 2007


WRAN hired Sioux Falls Tower on May 8th and 9th, to equip Faith’s SDPB tower with Wind Measurement equipment. On May 9th the Faith tower was activated. Less than two weeks later, on May 22nd the Long Valley site was also activated. The first incoming data from Faith and Long Valley will appear on this website by the end of June. Click picture’s below to view site photos:




March 24, 2007


Heartland Consumers Power District has partnered with Babcock and Brown, an Australian firm that has announced plans to build a 3,000-acre 34-turbine wind farm near Wessington Springs. It will be one of the state's largest wind farms. The wind farm will spread over about 3,000 acres just south of Wessington Springs. The actual construction won't begin until 2008.


September 21, 2006

PPM Energy, and Xcel Energy announced the start of construction of the 150-megawatt (MW) Minn-Dakota Wind Power Project in Brookings County in South Dakota and Lincoln county in Minnesota. The Minn-Dakota Wind Power Project will be the largest installation to date of wind energy. The foundations for the turbines are finished.  MinnDakota will use 100 GE 1.5 MW turbines in Minnesota and South Dakota. Construction is scheduled for completion by the end of 2007.

June 2006

South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) gave the WRAN permission to put up four new wind measurement sites on their towers. The new site locations will be near Faith, Long Valley, Lowry, and Reliance. These new sites will enable the WRAN to broaden its scale across South Dakota.  The new wind measurements will be taken at 90, 70, and 50 meter heights on each SDPB tower

The Black Hills Corporation, one of WRAN’s generous sponsors, put up a new wind data site. This site near Belle Fourche is located in the Northern Black Hills. Belle Fourche tower is a 60-meter tilt up tower. It measures wind speed at approximately 60, 50, and 40-meters, and it measures wind direction at 50 and 60-meters. The official data shown on this web site comes from the 50 meter sensors; however both the 60 and 40-meter data are available upon request. The site was fully activated on June 22nd, 2006 at 10:00:00.


March 1, 2006


A new site, the Medicine Butte Ridgeline, north of Kennebec and Reliance, S.D. has been added to the WRAN. The new tower was installed by Kennebec Telephone.  This sites measures data at 50, 30, and 10-meters. The official data shown on this web site is 50 meters; however both the 30 and 10-meter data are available upon request. The site was fully activated on February 28th at 17:00:00.


February 18, 2006


The massive ice storm of November 28-29, 2005, did some damage to the WRAN sites. Murdo and Gettysburg appear unscathed, but Ft. Thompson, Crow Lake, Leola, Crandall, and Summit all suffered instrument damage.  Tower crews from WRAN partner East River Electric Cooperative have been working hard to replace the broken instruments, but continued cold weather, coupled with the massive high-priority workload created for East River by the ice storm, have made for slow going at times.


Also, there are two tilt-up towers being used by the WRAN.  One of them, a 50-meter tower at Gettysburg is owned and operated by the Gettysburg-Whitlock Bay Economic Development Corporation. It is used for WRAN-related experiments and funded by South Dakota EPSCoR. Another tilt-up tower is 40-meters tall; located at the Oak Lake Field Station. It was obtained through a partnership with the Energy and Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, ND.  Both of these tilt-up towers were damaged by the ice storm that occurred in November. The Oak Lake field station replaced the old tower with new tilt up tower and is now working. The Gettysburg site was not completely ruined. The data uploader was the only instrument that was destroyed. The data chip in the 9300 Datalogger at the WRAN site was mailed in to the WRAN lab instead of being sent in by WRAN’s ISP via email.


September 08, 2005

A new site, the Murdo Tower atop White Clay Butte, has been added to the WRAN.  This site is another "tall tower" site and is equipped with 50, 70 and 90-meter anemometers, making it the first 90-meter measurement site in the state.  The site was fully activated on September 8, 2005.


September 21, 2004

A new site, the Gettysburg wind tower, has been added to the WRAN.  The tower in use there is a 50-meter NRG Systems tilt-up tower, unlike the microwave relay towers in use elsewhere on the network. This site went into action in July 2004, and data will be available on the web shortly.



March 25, 2004

FPL Energy (Juno Beach, FL) donated $50,000 to the WRAN project to expand the network.  The $50,000 check was recently presented at South Dakota State University by members of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission. This generous donation was used to add three new sites and to keep the entire WRAN network running smoothly. The locations of the new sites are Murdo, Faith, and Long Valley. These new sites helped expand the WRAN’s coverage in the western part of South Dakota.  The new site locations will be posted on this web site as they are determined.  The new sites will be equipped with anemometers at 50, 70 and 90 meters above ground (the present five sites only have 50 and 70 meter levels).




In the photo below, from left to right, are Gary Hanson, Vice Chairman of the SDPUC; Bob Sahr, Chairman of the SDPUC;

Michael Ropp, WRAN project leader, and SDSU Professor of Engineering; and Jim Burg, SDPUC commissioner.