Library from Iowa
Editor's note: This is a continuation of the story titled "Tempers Flare at Public Hearing on Wind Turbine Application" that ran in the Reporter on Oct. 10.
The atmosphere was tense and tempers flared during the public hearing held by the Palo Alto County Supervisors on Thursday, Oct. 5. The meeting was held to review the wind turbine application submitted by Invenergy as well as giving the public an opportunity to give comments regarding their feelings of the proposed Palo Alto Wind Project.
The document attached to this page is a "Wind Farm Neighbor Easement" agreement signed between wind project developer, Invenergy, and property owners with land adjacent to the Ida Grove Wind Project, a 300-megawatt project cconsistng of 120-GE 2.3-MW and 14-GE 1.79-MW turbines. The project was proposed by Invenergy and now owned by MidAmerican Energy Company (MEC) in Iowa. The project was placed in service at the end of 2016. Paragraphs from the agreement are excerpted and presented below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the document icon on this page.
SPENCER, Iowa — More wind turbines are set to sprout on rural Northwest Iowa farmland in the coming years.
A growing number of mostly rural citizens are coming together to stop this industrial onslaught on our rural communities. We are connected state by state, country by country, across the Internet. We make documentaries, write books, write articles, speak with lawmakers, give presentations, maintain websites and have our own supporting experts.
After more than a year of discussions with Interstate, Optimum finally filed a complaint in April with the Iowa Utilities Board. It alleges that Alliant made a “non-negotiable” offer to purchase power at a rate and under terms that, according to Optimum, ensure that “these projects will not be able to secure financing.”
William Shay, the lead attorney for the alliance, said the court agreed with the Illinois Landowners Alliance, Farm Bureau and ComEd on the definition of public utility. "The Court noted that nothing stops Rock Island (Clean Line) from seeking to develop its project as a private facility, but it will not have public utility status, including the right to condemn landowner easements through eminent domain," he added.
MINNESOTA -- A proposed project would see the construction of 100 wind turbines, spread over two counties in two states. The farm would be built in Freeborn County, Minn. and Worth County, Iowa.
The various companies currently operating in Palo Alto County would have us believe that their proposed 177-turbine project is all but a done deal. In fact, a neighbor of mine was approached just a week or so ago for permission to cross his land with connecting cables. When he declined, the man insinuated that they would be able to do so anyway.
Farmers feel outnumbered and outfinanced by powerful energy companies, government officials, and green energy advocates, all of whom they say have incentive to ignore their problems. The key word here is setbacks, which is the distance turbines must be kept from occupied buildings, property lines, and roads. Farmers say if they had input on setbacks or could vote on where turbines were built, many of their problems would be minimized or eliminated altogether.
“I think that 90 days is very little to ask for what’s going to affect this county and the people who live in this county — how they live, how safe they are and what their health is — for the next 30 or 40 years,” Cory said.
“I don’t think our ordinance with a 60 decibel sound limit and no word of a setback from an occupied residence protects my health and well-being,” McGarvey said. “In effect, they have trespass rights on my property with ice throw, blade throw, whatever. That isn’t right.” Resident Greg Cory joined those calling for county government leaders to start the discussion now.
Opposition to those projects is also growing. Lucas Nelsen, a policy program associate with the Center for Rural Affairs, says there are reasons for those objections.
The project still needs to go before the boards of adjustment in the two counties to obtain necessary conditional use permits before being finalized. The Dickinson County Board of Adjustment will hold a hearing on the matter July 24th.
But MidAmerican told the board the project would be economically feasible only if it's allowed to retain 100 percent of the PTCs. The IRS allows wind farm owners to requalify for the PTC for an additional 10 years under the 80/20 rule that requires no more than one-fifth of the fair market value of the re-powered turbine to be used equipment.
The document attached to this page is a memorandum of lease signed between Apex Clean Energy Inc and landowners in Clay County Iowa. The lease paves the way for the Upland Prairie wind facility to be constructed in Clay county and neighboring Dickinson County. The project, which will consist of 121 turbines (300 MW total), is now owned and under construction by Cedar Rapids-based Alliant Energy, one of Iowa's largest utilities. TO access the full lease document click the document link. on this page.
President Donald Trump has come under fire from wind-energy advocates for comments he made during a recent speech in Cedar Rapids. While promoting his “America First” energy plan, Trump stated, “I don’t want to just hope the wind blows to light up your homes and your factories … as the birds fall to the ground.”
Besides taking exception to the procedural tack chosen by MidAmerican, the tech companies said the commission should decide the prudence of the proposed investment instead of doing it when the utility fields its next rate case, which will be at least a decade. ..."The board must thoroughly consider the proposal in a deliberative process to ensure that it arrives at the right decision."
This 2.5 MW Clipper model C-96 turbine, part of NextEra's Endeavor I Wind Energy Center, burned for hours before this video was taken. The video shows the turbine's massive blade fall to the ground after first standing on its end before collapsing into a trail of black smoke and flames. The Endeavor I facility is located in Osceola County, Iowa. The turbines stand 420 feet tall including the 153-foot long blades; rotor diameter of 314-feet (96 meters). The 100 MW facility includes 40 turbines and was placed in service in 2008.
Garner said the turbine in question is a 2.5 mega-watt Clipper turbine, located on the organization's Endeavor I Wind Energy Center in Osceola County. There is a second Endeavor energy center also located in the county, both beginning operation in 2008.