South Dakota Family Patriarch Builds Grid-Connected Wind Farm on Family Ranch
BUILDING UPON A CENTURY-OLD LEGACY, OWNER BILL MAKENS TAPS CON EDISON DEVELOPMENT TO OWN AND OPERATE OAK TREE ENERGY WIND FARM.
CLARK, SD – December 30, 2014: A parcel of land in Clark County, South Dakota – owned by a respected family with roots in the state dating back to 1901 – will soon serve as a wind farm providing enough electricity to power approximately 5,000 homes in the region for a year.
Fulfilling the vision and through the effort and personal commitment of owner Leonard (“Bill”) Makens, a portion of the more than 7,000-acre Oak Tree Lodge family farm and hunting lodge is now home to a soon-to-open wind power installation comprised of eleven General Electric 1.85-87 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 19.5 megawatts.
Underscoring his commitment to sustainability and regional development, Mr. Makens partnered with regional contractors Diversified Energy Solutions of Gary, SD and with Consulting Engineers Group of Farmington, MN to design and build the project. Juhl Energy of Pipestone, MN provided development support services.
Consolidated Edison Development, a New York State-based developer and operator of large-scale renewable energy projects, recently closed an agreement with Mr. Makens to acquire and operate the project. The wind farm also encompasses a portion of the land owned by one of Mr. Makens’ neighbors. “For more than 114 years, the Makens family has proudly demonstrated our love for South Dakota’s land and its natural resources,” said Mr. Makens. “Over the generations, our family has been fortunate to serve as environmental stewards of our holdings, while also finding ways our property can serve the community at large.”
“To ensure this exciting initiative fulfills its maximum potential, we are delighted to have forged a partnership with ConEdison Development, one of America’s most successful and highly regarded developers of renewable energy.”
The project, which will generate approximately 71,000 MWh of power annually, is scheduled to be operational by the end of this month.
Electricity generated from the facility is contracted to NorthWestern Energy under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The wind farm is interconnected with NorthWestern Energy and the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) transmission systems.
“It is a privilege to work with the Makens family to help them build upon their legacy of commitment to the state of South Dakota,” said Mark Noyes, senior vice president and chief operating officer of ConEdison Development. “Our company is steadily identifying new ways to help grow our country’s renewable capabilities, and the Oak Tree Energy project – with its inspiring back story — stands as a particularly exciting milestone for us.”
About Consolidated Edison Development
Con Edison Development (“CED”) develops, owns and operates renewable and energy infrastructure projects. The company is one of the largest owners and operators of solar projects in North America. CED is focusing on renewable energy and gas assets as part of an overall corporate goal of responsible environmental stewardship. Through its deep resources and trusted relationships with a range of energy related companies, CED has successfully developed, and owns and operates facilities generating 625 MW of renewable power across California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Nebraska, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
ConEdison Development is an unregulated subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], the nation’s oldest and one of the largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $42 billion in assets. More information can be obtained by calling 914-993-2185. You can also visit the Consolidated Edison, Inc. website at www.conedison.com.