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Portland, Ore.-based PPM Energy, ScottishPower's U.S. energy business, and Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-headquartered electricity and natural gas provider, have begun the construction of the 150 MW MinnDakota Wind Power Project in Brookings County in South Dakota and Lincoln County in Minnesota.

The MinnDakota will use 100 GE 1.5 MW turbines, the companies say. It will span the border of South Dakota and Minnesota, with approximately 50 MW located in South Dakota (the largest installation of wind power in the state) and 100 MW in Minnesota.

"South Dakota is pleased to host the largest installation to date of wind energy," says Governor Michael Rounds, R-S.D. "The MinnDakota project taps yet another one of South Dakota's resources - wind - and represents further diversification of our rural economies. In particular, the project will yield significant benefits to the local economy in Brookings County with new job opportunities and an expanding tax base. South Dakota is committed to ensuring the investment environment for wind energy in the state remains strong and looks forward to further expansion of wind energy in the state."

According to PPM Energy, the project is expected to create approximately 200 jobs during construction. In addition, it is expected to provide several hundred thousand dollars a year in property tax revenues once it is completed at the end of 2007. Power generated by the MinnDakota project will be delivered under a long-term contract to customers of Xcel Energy.

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