Wind Turbine

With a center hub that stands 262.4 feet tall and three blades at 123 feet in length, the 1.5 megawatt wind turbine is visible for miles. The turbine began operating in the fall of 2009 at the SMSC Wacipi (Pow Wow) Grounds on Dakotah Parkway, near Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, after 10 years of planning.

At 386 feet from the foundation to the tip of a blade fully extended vertically, the wind turbine is the equivalent of a 38-story building. The turbine blades turn from winds as light as six and a half mph and continue through about 40 mph when it will shut itself off. Maintenance is only required twice a year. It operates around the clock, anytime the wind is blowing. The turbine has almost no environmental impact, as it is not located near a major bird or bat migratory flyway. This single, quiet turbine supplies enough energy for almost all of the Community residential energy demand.

Energy Self-Sufficiency

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community has invested in several energy projects in recent years, working toward long term self-sufficiency. By producing energy rather than purchasing it from an outside source, the tribe is taking care of its own needs. The wind turbine is one of several components devised to meet this goal. In addition to meeting our own goals, we are contributing to the effort to meet Minnesota’s renewable energy standard which requires 25 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable energy resources by 2025. The SMSC wind turbine will demonstrate that wind energy is viable in areas of moderate to low winds. Wind energy is a low-cost emerging renewable energy resource which does not contribute to global warming. The only pollution that is produced by a wind turbine comes during the manufacturing and transport process. Once erected, the wind turbine has no negative impacts and the sound is negligible to nearby homes and enterprises.

Wind Turbine Background

Ground site preparation for installation of the turbine was completed in August 2009, when the foundation ring was installed and buried underground. The foundation had to be buried 12 feet deep in order to provide adequate support. Federal aviation requirements mandated the maximum height at the tip of the blade be no more than 1,340 feet above sea level. The location in a small valley at the Wacipi Grounds helped meet this requirement. Due to the sheer size of the components of the turbine – the base, steel tower, three blades, a hub, a nacelle and internal power transfer systems – transport was somewhat complicated. Once all the parts arrived, it only took two days to assemble, using a 600 ton capacity crane. Muddy conditions did not deter the crew, though it created quite a mess around the site. The $1.8 million wind turbine, which has a payback period of about 15 years, has a life expectancy of 30 years.

By the Numbers

  • The center hub stands 262.4 feet tall and is visible for miles around.
  • The hub is 13.45 feet by 13.45 feet by 11.48 feet and weighs 17.19 tons.
  • The turbine nacelle (engine housing) weighs 57.3 tons without the blades.
  • The three blades are 123 feet by 7.35 feet by 9.84 feet and weigh 6.6 tons each.
  • The diameter of the circle created by the blades is about 77 meters, or 247 feet.
  • The 252.3 feet tall meter steel tower is tubular shaped and weighs 135.9 tons.
  • The foundation ring is 14.76 feet by 9.84 feet, with a weight of 14.3 tons.
  • The nacelle is 31.18 feet by 12.46 feet by 13.12 feet and weighs 57.32 tons.
  • The wind turbine was shipped over a seven week voyage, first to Shanghai and then to Houston, Texas, where it was loaded onto trucks for its overland journey.

Safe for all Flyers

Even though it is the height equivalent of a 38-story building, the wind turbine structure is not located near any major bird migratory flyway, and meets federal aviation requirements.

Find Out More

Department of Land and Natural Resources

2330 Sioux Trail NW
Prior Lake, MN 55372
Phone: 952-496-6136
Fax: 952-496-6180

Land Stewardship

The SMSC Department of Land and Natural Resources helps fulfill the tribe's strong commitment to environmental stewardship. Visit our Notable Projects page to learn more about our initiatives.