MTI receives $1.167 million grant to purchase wind turbineMitchell Technical Institute has received a $1.167 million grant from the Economic Development Administration for the purchase of a wind turbine in Basin Electric Cooperative’s Crow Lake wind project near White Lake.
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
Mitchell Technical Institute has received a $1.167 million grant from the Economic Development Administration for the purchase of a wind turbine in Basin Electric Cooperative’s Crow Lake wind project near White Lake.
Ownership of the turbine will allow students in MTI’s Wind Turbine Technology program unrestricted access to a turbine for educational and training purposes. PrairieWinds, the Basin subsidiary that will operate the project, will purchase the electricity generated by the turbine, thereby allowing a self-sustaining revenue stream for MTI and the wind technology program.
Additional funding for the project was made available through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, General Electric and through the sale of bonds under the state bonding authority. Crow Lake is also the site of seven turbines to be owned by the South Dakota Wind Partners, a group of 600 South Dakota investors who have joined to create a first-of-its-kind ownership model in the South Dakota wind industry; and the 101 turbines in the broader PrairieWinds project.
The news was announced this morning in a news release from U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D.
“I am pleased that the Economic Development Administration closely examined and recognized the merit of investing in this project," she was quoted as saying. "This is a perfect example of the kind of private/state/federal partnership that will allow us to grow our renewable energy economy here in South Dakota.”
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development John Fernandez was quoted in the release as saying “EDA is pleased to partner with Mitchell Technical Institute to support this vital wind energy initiative that will help to keep the region competitive, while promoting a clean energy economy to create jobs."
Fernandez also said that MTI will be "prioritizing" that 20 percent of the enrollees of the program to train and certify wind technicians are American Indian. Because of that, Fernandez said, "this investment reinforces President Obama’s goal to expand economic opportunity for tribal communities.” MTI announced in July that it had reached an agreement with Sinte Gleska University in Mission to conduct wind turbine training classes on the SGU campus, which is within the boundaries of the Rosebud Indian Reservation.
This past January, Herseth Sandlin met with Assistant Secretary Fernandez, and on June 4, Herseth Sandlin visited MTI to discuss wind energy’s potential to contribute to economic development. Herseth Sandlin was joined by MTI President Greg Von Wald, Economic Development Administration Regional Director Bob Olson, state officials and representatives of the wind energy and electricity industries. Herseth Sandlin worked with MTI, her news release says, to secure ownership of a wind turbine in support of curriculum programming in MTI's Wind Turbine Technology program and to encourage EDA to support MTI’s funding request.