The Standing Rock Sioux tribe will be cutting the proverbial ribbon this week on what they’re describing as North Dakota’s first solar farm.
The project “already represents 50% of the state’s solar power,” according to a press release which notes the project will be capable of producing 300 kilowatts of power when the sun is shining.
Just to put that into perspective, Coal Creek Station (the state’s largest power plan) has a peak production capacity of 1.2 gigawatts.
One gigawatt equals a million kilowatts.
This is a tiny, tiny project even when compared to the state’s wind farms which range in capacity from a little over 90 megawatts to nearly 500. Still, this project is getting the red carpet treatment from some high-profile, left-wing political figures.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is also a candidate for President this election cycle, will be on hand to speak about the project. Hollywood activists Shailene Woodley, Mark Ruffalo, and Frances Fisher will be there too.
Ruffalo and Woodley are no strangers to North Dakota. Both were deeply involved in the violent protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Woodley was arrested at one point, and ultimately pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge.
It will be interesting to see how this project works out. Is it really practical, or just a political stunt? I suspect there’s a reason why solar power hasn’t exactly taken off in North Dakota, and it probably has a lot to do with our weather and our long, long winter nights.
UPDATE: A reader points out that, despite the claim made in the press release, North Dakota already has an operating solar farm. It was launched by Cass County Electric Cooperative in 2016.