Geronimo Energy, a National Grid company, has announced a power purchase agreement with Basin Electric Power Cooperative for a major new solar energy project in South Dakota. Wild Springs will provide clean power and community benefits for years to come.
Set to become operational in 2022, the Wild Springs site in South Dakota will be able to generate 128MW of clean solar energy, marking another step forward in the transition to a greener power system.
This will be the first foray into solar for not-for-profit power provider Basin Electric, which is a wholesale supplier to 141-member cooperative systems across nine states. “For the first time in its history, Basin Electric will buy solar generation on a large scale to serve our members. We are excited about adding solar to our already diverse generation mix,” explained Paul Sukut, CEO and General Manager of Basin Electric.
Wild Springs has been supported by local and state community members, and will bring substantial economic benefits to the area. Current estimates suggest these will total over $17million in the first 20 years of operation. This includes: positive impacts from new tax revenue; construction jobs; new permanent full-time jobs; and, charitable funds in the form of The Wild Springs Education Fund, which will offer approximately $500,000 in donations to the local school districts connected to the project.
Using the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, the Wild Springs project is estimated to offset carbon dioxide emissions by 190,000 metric tons annually; making a significant difference to the green energy mix.
“Historically, there has been a misconception that solar in the northern regions of the United States wasn’t feasible,” according to David Reamer, President for Geronimo Energy. This solar project, in the upper Midwest, reinforces the idea of viability for large-scale solar in the northern US, further boosting renewable energy’s place in the power system.
“Both Geronimo and Basin Electric recognized that the addition of solar to its overall generation fleet not only offers customers a clean, economic option for their electricity, but it also diversifies a utility’s portfolio.”