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Case Study

More wind, more green power in South Dakota

Setting the scene

In the summer of 2014, our US team acquired and developed what would become BayWa r.e.’s largest renewable energy project to date, the Beethoven wind farm. Based in southeastern South Dakota, it’s the largest we have built in the United States. The 80 MW wind farm consists of 43 GE wind turbines, each with a hub height of 80 metres.

Beethoven stands on the property of 65 different landowner’s and stretches over three counties: Bon Homme, Hutchinson and Charles Mix, as well.

Our team collectively engineered, procured, constructed and sold the wind farm in around 12 months.

Meeting the Challenge

Construction of Beethoven began in the fall of 2014 and with South Dakota’s extreme weather conditions, winters can be brutal. Blizzards and ice storms are common-place and temperatures on average reach below 10 °F (-12 °C) or lower. Fortunately for the BayWa r.e. team, the project was graced with a mild winter and no major delays to slow the construction schedule.

Careful planning, collaboration and execution were required to prepare the foundations for turbine delivery. All 43 foundations, from the first excavation to the last yard of concrete, were completed in an impressive 25 working days. Four weeks after the foundation was complete, all turbines were on site. 

Getting the result

The project took just nine months to complete. The aid of local developers, support of the local community and BayWa r.e.’s first time collaboration with GE on a project together, all helped make Beethoven’s completion by May 2015 possible.

Our expert operations and maintenance team has ensured it has consistently and reliably run at peak efficiency ever since.

Testament to the quality of the design and construction of the turnkey project, Beethoven was purchased by Northwestern Energy for $143 million. It’s the first wind farm they have ever acquired and is an important addition to the company’s assets, accounting for 18 percent of South Dakota supply.

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