With plans to install 480MW of wind turbines—-enough to power nearly 110,000 homes—-Global Winds Harvest Inc. and UPC Wind Partners, LLC recently partnered to develop a $500 million wind farm project in Dickey County, N.D., and McPherson County, S.D.

The two companies submitted a joint bid in April to Northern States Power/Xcel Energy for the two wind power projects. When completed, the wind farms will be among the largest in the country. Interconnection will occur at two high-tension power lines located in Dickey County.

The partnership is the culmination of almost 3 years of work begun in 1999 when Global Winds investigated the potential for wind farm development in the Dakotas. The company chose the site based on the Department of Energy’s assertion that the Dakotas have the greatest wind resource in the United States, enough to provide 36% of the nation’s energy.

The company also found local farmers very receptive to the idea. “From many discussions that we had with landowners and local government over the past 3 years, we have learned that people want wind turbines on their property,” says Todd Wilen, Global Winds project manager. “In today’s depressed farm economy, wind development allows the farmer to gain a second crop—-and this land can still be farmed or ranched.”