The Council Bluffs City Council said “no” to wind energy – at least for now.
The majority of the City Council Monday evening voted against an ordinance that would have allowed wind energy conversion systems, particularly those windmill-like structures that people see out in the countryside.
It was the third reading of the ordinance, making it official.
Iowa has begun to produce so much wind energy that a quarrel has broken out over who will get to sell the surplus.
MidAmerican Energy of Des Moines, Iowa's largest wind energy provider with 1,300 megawatts of wind capacity, has asked Iowa regulators to approve more than 1,000 megawatts of wind generation to be built at yet-undisclosed locations in the state.
But MidAmerican's largest rival in Iowa wind energy, NextEra Energy Resources of Jupiter, Fla., has objected in a filing with the Iowa Utilities Board.
In 2010, Alliant Energy expects to ask for another rate increase to pay the costs of building its Whispering Willow Wind Farm in north central Iowa.
"Raising rates right now, with the way the economy is, is something you would not want to do if you had your druthers," said Tom Aller, president of Alliant's Interstate Power & Light subsidiary, to The Gazette's editorial board.
With economic breezes no longer at its back, Iowa's wind energy industry hopes the three-year renewal of federal tax breaks will regenerate the momentum that has made Iowa the nation's second-largest wind producer.
"The renewals of those tax incentives will be a huge help to us," said Estherville insurance man Al Blum, who is putting together wind farm projects in Emmett and Dickinson counties.
If you're a landowner and someone approaches you about placing a wind turbine on your property, are you getting the best deal possible? The best terms? And if the wind company should go belly up, who's going to pay to take down that 235-foot turbine?
Those were some of the questions that attorney Scott Buchanan addressed at the second annual conference of the Iowa Wind Energy Association.
Acciona Windpower plans to cut employment by 58 at its West Branch facility in response to slackening demand for wind turbines.
In a statement, Acciona said demand "is uncharacteristically low due primarily to instability in the financing markets."
A total of 65 positions are being cut.
A 50-ton structure fell 246 feet to the frozen ground on Saturday when the blades of a turbine under construction east of Waverly caught wind and started rotating at a speed reaching 60 rpm.
The hub housing the generating components of the Cannon II turbine and the structure's three 177-foot blades collapsed after spinning for hours at the mercy of the wind, says Waverly Light and Power General Manager Diane Johnson.
A gust caught the blades prematurely on Friday.
Part of a wind turbine under construction broke apart Saturday morning.
The problem started Friday when construction crews were installing a second wind turbine for Waverly Light and Power.
During the process, a construction error caused the rotor and blades to start moving in the wind prematurely - spinning uncontrollably and unable to stop until it broke.
The construction company, ICS of North Dakota, lifted the wind turbine rotor assembly, to which the blades attach, 246 feet high into place late yesterday afternoon. After it was lifted it was discovered the blades were not ‘feathered' or turned properly so they could not catch the wind. In the position the blades are in, the wind caught the blades causing them to spin.
When this was discovered, the Bremer county sheriff's department was notified and all personnel were evacuated, including two homeowners who were outside of the recommended danger zone.
The presence of prairie winds and rich soil makes Iowa literally fertile ground for developing alternative energy sources from wind turbines and biofuels.
But the landscape is also a reminder that achieving energy independence is a formidable challenge and making an agricultural economy green is not easy. ...Phil Wyse, a state representative for 22 years, believes Iowa and America need nuclear power.
"We need sources of power that are constant and don't rely on things like whether the wind's blowing or the sun's shining," he says.
An Illinois company has expressed interest in building Dubuque County's first wind energy farm.
EcoEnergy, LLC, a renewable energy company based in Freeport, Ill., has a plan to construct a wind measurement tower seven miles northeast of Dyersville, in hopes of developing a turbine farm and an operations and maintenance facility.
As many as 120 wind turbines could dot the Deep Creek, Center, Elk River township area by 2012 if plans outlined to the Northeast School Board this week come to fruition.
Bill French, project coordinator for Midwest Wind Energy, LLC, Chicago, told the school board it is early in the process, but contacts have been made with land owners of about 75,000 acres.
A major layoff today at Clipper Windpower's Cedar Rapids turbine works sent about 150 stunned workers home.
Employees were told that about half of the plant's 300 employees, who manufacture Clipper's wind turbines, would be released because of market conditions, including difficulty by wind developers in securing project financing.
The owners and builders of smaller, independent wind generators say it's time they get some breaks from the Iowa Legislature.
Small nonutility wind producers want the same thing that MidAmerican Energy or Alliant Energy get when they set up a wind turbine farm: a guaranteed rate of return to help recover the costs of buying and installing the turbines and then connecting to the transmission grid.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, said today that he is introduced a bill to extend the wind energy production tax credit until 2017.
The current credit, which was extended last year, is set to expire at the end of 2009.
Braley told reporters Thursday a long-term extension will create some certainty in the market and spur greater development.
The project is massive, says Tim Wichman, leasing manager for Kansas-based Trade Wind Energy (TWE), one of the country's largest developer and manager of wind energy.
The actual number of wind generators depends upon the success in leasing property rights from area owners. The estimated cost of the project could reach $1 billion if all 335 wind generators are built.
Shortly after the majority of the Clipper turbines were erected it was discovered the blades had a manufacturer's defect. "Phase 2 has some minor repairs to the blades which is underway, but it will not affect energization," Ginn said. "Michael Bogie is our FPL representative that is managing the blade repairs for the Clipper turbines."
A North Dakota based construction company is facing three proposed penalties following a deadly Iowa wind farm accident last October. ..."The employer did not ensure the all terrain fork truck operators were competent and capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards."
IOSHA claims Wanzek "did not instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations.
The political winds are right for making wind power in Iowa. The problem is getting that power to the big cities that can use it. ...Proposals to give FERC more say over power transmission lines have foundered in Congress before, and the commission itself isn't united behind Kelliher's idea.
Under current law, the commission can promote investment in new transmission lines for wind farms by awarding developers a higher rate of return. That allows utilities to charge more for the power. But it's still up to the states to decide whether to allow the lines to be built.
Scott Rueter is fed up with the wind turbines that are near his home and with the company that owns them. Rueter, who was scheduled to voice his complaints to the board of supervisors at their last meeting but canceled because of illness, spent about an hour with the board on Tuesday. He said that the noise from the 2.5 megawatt turbines which are located near his home just east of Harris is overwhelming.