Learn more about the historic flight of Explorer II

Area Geography

White Lake is located west of the geographic line in Aurora County where the James River Lowland, the eastern region draining into the James River, meets the plateau of the Southern Missouri Coteau, draining west into the Missouri River.  Patten Hills was spared erosion as the vast prehistoric Lake Dakota burst open and scoured out the James River Valley.  The varied topography of the White Lake area is the result of repeated glacial events prior to this cataclysm.  Runoff from Patten Hills drains into the Missouri, on the east through the White Lake Subwatershed.

Crow Lake Wind Project

The 162-MW wind farm atop the Patten Hills consists of 108 1.5-megawatt GE turbines across highland areas of Aurora, Brule, and Jerauld Counties.  The project is largely owned and operated by PrairieWinds SD1, a company of Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

The electric output of the farm feeds into the Western Area Power Administration's power grid at the Wessington Springs Substation through 10 miles of new transmission line.  The turbines operate in wind speeds from 8 mph to 56 mph, with each turbine reaching its rated 1.5-MW capacity at 27 mph.

Easily visible from I-90, the wind turbines of Crow Lake Wind are interconnected by access roads for site maintenance.  Skilled techs are responsible for keeping the facility running at peak performance 365 days per year.

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We appreciate your interest in the community of White Lake and its many attractions!  Please send us any questions you may have about business, lifestyle, community, or recreation in White Lake!

Learn more about the historic flight of Explorer II

A Windy Spot


As national emphasis shifts to renewable and eco-friendly sources of energy, electric power generation from the wind has become an effective alternative to fossil fuel plants.  Scientific studies have shown one of the windiest spots in South Dakota is found 12 miles north of White Lake, on the high rolling prairie of Patten Hills in far northwestern Aurora County.

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