128 MW project poised to be largest in South Dakota, currently under construction in Pennington County.
Minneapolis, MN (July 31, 2023) – Showcasing the environmental, social and economic benefits of solar energy projects, National Grid Renewables hosted the “Solar Does Good” community event at its 128 megawatt (MW) Wild Springs Solar Project in Pennington County, South Dakota last week. The event brought together local community members, landowners, customers and partners in celebration of the project’s construction, as well as its associated benefits for local and state communities.
The community-focused event kicked off with a welcome from Blake Nixon, President of National Grid Renewables. “We’re excited to be celebrating construction with our New Underwood landowners, neighbors and community members. Wild Springs presents an exciting opportunity to expand our footprint in South Dakota and our commitment to bring clean energy resources to its residents.”
Wild Springs announced construction in early 2023 and is projected to be the largest solar energy project in the state to-date. Once operational, Wild Springs is anticipated to avoid 190,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually – the equivalent of removing roughly 42,000 cars from the road for one year.1 The project also expects to produce nearly $12 million in new tax revenue and donate over $500,000 through an Education Fund.
The highlight of the “Solar Does Good” event featured booths with representatives from several local community organizations, as well as the opportunity for event attendees to join National Grid Renewables in contributing to local fundraising initiatives. In total, National Grid Renewables donated $30,000 to these local organizations, furthering its charitable contribution to the local community.
“National Grid Renewables and their partners have been responsible and courteous newcomers to our local community,” said Caleb Dustman, Chief of the New Underwood Volunteer Fire Department. “From helping to improve one of the town’s municipal wells, to routing all construction traffic away from residential areas… With that kind of responsibility, I look forward to working with them in the years to come.”
Also present were executives from Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin) (project customer), First Solar (module provider) and Ames Construction (construction partner), who took a moment to address guests at the event.
“We are excited to add Wild Springs Solar to our total generating portfolio of over 7,000 megawatts, which blends together affordable and reliable generation into an all-of-the-above energy strategy to meet the needs of our member cooperatives over the coming decades,” said Todd Brickhouse, Basin Electric Interim Chief Executive Officer and General Manager.
“Wild Springs represents a special opportunity to expand our footprint close to home, while helping develop an exciting and evolving renewable energy market in South Dakota” said Patrick Fairl, Project Executive at Ames. “The project will employ over 250 crewmembers during the course of construction, many of whom will come right from the local communities.”
“We’re pleased that our responsibly-produced Series 6 Plus solar module technology will power Wild Springs,” said Georges Antoun, Chief Commercial Officer at First Solar. “The commitment of National Grid Renewables to American Solar supports innovation and the growth of domestic manufacturing by providing a substantial demand driver. The result isn’t only the value generated by deploying solar energy projects at scale, but also the jobs and economic value created by investments in domestic manufacturing and supply chains.”