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Crow Lake Wind

A unique partnership that facilitates community-ownership and participation


Despite having one of the smallest populations of any state in the USA, South Dakota's energy-intensive industries and extreme climate mean that per capita it ranks within the top 10 energy-consuming states. Luckily, high winds blow unobstructed across South Dakota's vast prairie and pastures, which cover nine-tenths of the state, making it one of the best wind resources in the USA.

United States
Wind power

Sustainable Development Goals

4. Quality Education

Training of wind technicians

at MTI college, creating the next generation of renewables experts

7. Affordable and Clean Energy

513,000 MWh

of clean renewable energy generated on average per year

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

108 wind turbines

installed thanks to the project

13. Climate Action

432,000 tonnes of CO2e

mitigated on average per year

The Solution

Spanning 36,000 acres in South Dakota, this wind power project is a product of innovative community collaboration between 3 parties. In total the wind farm comprises 108 turbines: Basin Electric Power Cooperative (BEPC) owns 100; a group of south Dakotans, South Dakotan Wind Partners own 7; and 1 is owned by Mitchell Technical Institute (MTI). The Crow Lake Wind project harnesses the wind to power homes with clean electricity, displacing energy generated from fossil fuels. The total installed capacity of the project is around 162MW, 1 MW serves around 800 homes, so at full capacity, 129,000 homes can be served!


The Impact

No other wind project in the country has used this ownership structure, which has yielded many benefits to the community surrounding the Crow Lake project. The local residents involved in the project have taken the opportunity to gain ownership of their energy production and ensure that jobs and taxes stay in the local area. Local economic development is further boosted thanks to the distribution of payments across multiple landowners where the project takes place. Furthermore students at MTI now have the opportunity to gain practical experience working with wind turbines, adding another dimension to their studies, helping them to get a job later on. The project displaces fossil-fuel generated energy; meeting growing demands with clean energy and helping drive a low carbon future in the USA.

Project ID: 302559
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