US-based Geronimo Energy and Basin Electric Power Cooperative have signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) for the 128MW Wild Springs Solar Project in Pennington County, South Dakota.
A not-for-profit wholesale power provider Basin Electric has 141 member cooperative systems in nine states across the US.
The company supplies power to two generation and transmission cooperatives, including Rushmore Electric Power and East River Electric Power in South Dakota. The cooperatives transmit electricity to their respective distribution cooperatives.
Geronimo Energy president David Reamer said: “Historically, there has been a misconception that solar in the northern regions of the US was not feasible.
“Both Geronimo and Basin Electric recognised that the addition of solar to its overall generation fleet not only offers customers a clean, economical option for their electricity but it also diversifies a utility’s portfolio.”
The Wild Springs solar energy project is expected to begin commercial operations in 2022.
Once operational, the solar facility will be the largest facility in the South Dakota region and will have the capacity to offset 190,000mt of carbon emissions annually.
In addition to permanent and temporary employment opportunities, the project is estimated to generate economic benefits of more than $17m within the first 20 years of its operation.
Basin Electric Power Cooperative general manager and CEO Paul Sukut said: “For the first time in its history, Basin Electric will buy solar generation on a large scale to serve our members.
“The board’s decision to add solar generation to our resource portfolio is to continue with our all-of-the-above strategy, as well as solar generation becoming a more economic energy source. We are excited about adding solar to our already diverse generation mix.”