Four dead in plane crash at wind farm

Four people died when a small plane crashed into a wind farm owned by a NextEra Energy subsidiary in South Dakota in foggy weather on Monday morning.

The 40.5MW wind farm played no role in the accident. The plane did, however, inflict as-yet-undetermined damage to one of the 27 GE 1.5MW turbines when it crashed, according to press reports.

“It’s been so foggy up there and we haven’t had a chance to investigate,” a NextEra spokesman told the Associated Press.

The South Dakota Wind Energy Center, near the city of Highmore, is the oldest major wind farm in the state, having started commercial operation in 2003.

South Dakota has become a national wind leader, generating 26% of its electricity from wind last year from 783MW of installed capacity – the highest penetration in the US after Iowa.