SummitWind LLC

Starting up this venture involved ascertaining many different pieces of a puzzle.

  • Our research found we could borrow a 20 meter (66’) tower and instruments from WAPA (“Western” or Western Area Power Administration). We started by locating the tower on James Pike’s land and still have it deployed close by. In another site, SDSU has had a meteorological set of anemometers for several years on a tower near 152nd Street, east of I-29. This public information is very helpful. Combining information shows us there is no question of the high value of our wind resource.
  • We made contact with many landowners to find other developers had come before us and made promises in developing the wind resource, but nothing had materialized. Many landowners wondered about us as well.
  • Transmission of the electricity from the wind plant to the load (where people and industry need it) is the major hurdle to overcome. Most wind resources are in the Midwest, but the load is not. This requires the largest improvements in infrastructure for the U.S. since the Interstate Highway system.
  • Being added to the grid requires having a queue position with one of the regulators organizing the grid, to study the needed upgrades. In turn, the regulators will provide power to utilities, who then sell the power to its customers. SummitWind decided on Midwest Independent Systems Operator (MISO) to deliver our power. With MISO we anticipated gaining access to the eastern market and being up in the shortest amount of time.
  • Some landowners were surprised at the magnitude of our project. On a daily basis, SummitWind, at full deployment, creates the same amount of electricity as utilized in eastern SD rural areas.
  • SummitWind laid out a plan to involve landowners, community leaders, industry people, and legal advisors to make a credible and accurate approach for leasing land and setting up the project.
  • SummitWind purchased a minisodar™, primarily measuring wind speed in the upper profile from 20 to 150 meters (66’ to 492’). We found speeds increasing with height and more speed at night than daytime.

No one knows the wind better than the landowners who live there. Consequently, landowners played a large part in defining the lease terms. They evaluated the operators who would build the project, be responsible for operations, and make payments to the landowners. We enlisted banking, agriculture business, farming and ranching interests to lay out an outline for our 5 year plan and an acceptable lease.

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