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Doing our Part

Keeping It Green

From helping develop the first commercial wind turbine to developing electricity from waste products like manure, all Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives are working together and with others to develop and employ renewable resources to bring savings to our valued members as well as to our planet.

Presently, through our Renewable Energy Program, nearly 35 percent of the electricity that electric cooperatives in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota deliver to their members comes from environmentally-friendly generators. We are working tirelessly to increase that percentage every year.

Renewable Energy in South Dakota and Minnesota:

Wind Energy

Prairie winds can be a force to be reckoned with and South Dakota has no shortage. According to the American Wind Energy Association, South Dakota has the fourth best wind in the country. Your local Touchstone Energy® Cooperative is making use of that force, converting it to electricity.

Large wind turbines located throughout the region are able to capture the power of the prairie wind and convert it into power for thousands of homes. The wind generation sites are spread throughout the region and together have the capacity to create nearly 1,400 megawatts of renewable power.

Day County Wind Project

In April 2010, the 99-megawatt Day County Wind Project was energized east of Groton, S.D. The site houses sixty-six 1.5-megawatt turbines.

Crow Lake Wind Project

Energized in early 2011, the Crow Lake Wind Project is the largest cooperative-owned wind project in the U.S. with a generating capacity of 151.5 megawatts. The project consists of 101 turbines owned and operated by a subsidiary of Basin Electric, PrairieWinds SD 1. Mitchell Technical Institute has purchased one turbine for use in its wind turbine technology program and another seven are owned by South Dakota Wind Partners, a group of local citizens who together invested millions of dollars in this community wind project.

Chamberlain Wind Farm

The first two utility-sized wind turbines in the Dakotas were built overlooking a hill on the Missouri River northeast of Chamberlain, S.D. Together they have a combined output of 2.6 megawatts.

South Dakota Wind Energy Center

The South Dakota Wind Energy Center is located 10 miles south of Highmore, S.D. With 27 wind turbines, the farm was built in October 2003 and generates 40 megawatts for electric cooperatives in the region.

Learn more about the power of wind in South Dakota at South Dakota Wind Energy Association.

Hydroelectric Energy

The Advantages of Hydroelectric Power

Water is one of our greatest and most powerful natural resources and has many advantages when compared with other energy sources.

First, hydroelectric power is truly a renewable energy source as snowmelt and rainfall replenish these reservoirs annually.

Second, hydroelectric energy is not subject to the same fluctuations of price that fossil fuels are, making the cost of operations significantly lower.

Finally, hydroelectric reservoirs create water recreation areas for the communities around them.

How Does Hydroelectric Power Work?

Rushing water produces energy by flowing through dams and turbine blades. These blades are connected to generators, which are hooked up to transmission lines. These lines deliver electricity to homes and communities across the region.

Hydroelectricity in South Dakota

Massive dams on the Missouri River constructed in the 1950s and 1960s not only provide flood control along the river, but also help generate a lot of electricity.

South Dakota has four major hydroelectric dams that are federally owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. These dams help provide low-cost power to local Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives, allowing us to pass the savings on to you.

  • Oahe Dam – Fort Pierre, S.D.
  • Big Bend Dam – Fort Thompson, S.D.
  • Fort Randall Dam – Pickstown, S.D.
  • Gavins Point Dam – Yankton, S.D.

New Technology

Local Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives are committed to discovering and utilizing new technologies to continue to unlock solutions for energy management and continue to be environmentally savvy.