Articles from Iowa
What is the latest renewable energy project about to get underway in Mitchell County? The answer (my friend) is blowin’ In the wind. A local man who wishes to remain anonymous at this time is currently developing a 20-megawatt wind farm that will be located just a few miles north of Osage. The project, already a year and a half in the making, is tentatively being called the “Cedar River Wind Farm.” The $30 million operation would consist of eight 2.5-megawatt wind turbines which would interconnect with an Alliant Energy 69,000-volt transmission line at the Kirkwood Avenue substation at Osage.
A Mitchell County man is developing a plan for a $30 million, 20-megawatt wind farm owned by local investors a few miles north of Osage. The project is tentatively being called the Cedar River Wind Farm and would have eight 2.5-megawatt wind turbines that would connect with an Alliant Energy 69,000-volt transmission line at the Kirkwood Avenue Substation at Osage. The man said he wished to remain anonymous, but information about the project was confirmed by Mitchell County Economic Development Director Brenda Dryer, who is assisting in the project.
The Board of Supervisors moved closer on Tuesday to a wind energy ordinance that could attract renewable energy businesses to Floyd County. The Supervisors passed the first reading of an ordinance which would offer a tax exemption to new wind farms or turbines. Wind energy producers would receive a tax exemption on a 20-year, sliding scale. The first year of operation the owner would be taxed on zero percent of the net acquisition costs, adding five percent until year seven, when the rate would stay at 30 percent. No comments were given during a public hearing on the ordinance.
Todd Nelsen of the Audubon County Board of Supervisors and Dan Ahart, Audubon County engineer, met recently with Stu Webster of California-based Clipper Windpower, Inc. Clipper Windpower is interested in putting up approximately 25 wind turbines in Audubon County. Stu Webster is the manager of permits at Clipper Windpower. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss permits and concerns the county might have with the development and construction of a wind farm. Approval from Clipper Windpower for a reporter to speak directly with Webster has yet to be attained. According to Ahart, Clipper would need entrance permits and potentially, utility permits. As for zoning permits, according to Nelsen, they would need a permit to build. Nelsen feels Audubon County does not want to hinder the possibility of a wind farm, but at the same time, doesn’t want to be a doormat and not ask questions about how the construction will affect secondary roads, bridge work, conservation land and set-back distance of the turbines. the meeting with Webster did calm their fears a bit.
The Floyd County Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance that would offer tax breaks for the installation of wind energy turbines. A public hearing on the proposed ordinance will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 13 in the board of supervisors room at the Floyd County Courthouse. The board reviewed wind energy ordinances from Franklin, Mitchell and Cerro Gordo counties recently before setting the public hearing. The state of Iowa allows cities and counties to set a sliding scale for assessment of wind energy conversion property, according to Floyd County Assessor Bruce Hovden.
A wind farm with 10 turbines could break ground five miles south of Thompson later this year or in early 2008. The Midwest Renewable Energy Corporation is planning the 20 megawatt wind farm. Project manager Victor Austin said the 10 turbines are meant to be the start of what eventually will be a larger wind farm. However, that won’t happen for several more years. “It’s just in the formative idea stage,” Austin said.
The Floyd County Board of Supervisors plan to put an ordinance into place offering tax incentives to new wind energy operations. A wind energy ordinance was discussed during the Supervisors’ regular meeting on Tuesday and during a workshop on Monday. “We plan on developing an ordinance in case anybody wants to come in and build a wind farm,” said Supervisor Leo Staudt. While the ordinance is still in the works, it would offer tax relief to new wind farms or turbines moving into Floyd County. Wind energy producers would receive a tax exemption on a 20-year, sliding scale. In the first year of operation, the owner would be taxed on zero percent of the net acquisition costs, adding five percent until year seven, when the rate would stay at 30 percent.
Two representatives of a California firm which last May began investigating the possibility of a local wind farm for electrical generation were in Guthrie County last week to meet with zoning administrator Barry Stetzel who said he was impressed by the prospects. Stetzel was at a proposed site in southwestern Guthrie County Wednesday with the development project manager and permitting manger of Clipper Windpower Inc. The zoning administrator said the site, which he would not specifically identify, would have 55 windchargers in Guthrie County and 25 in Audubon County. Besides meeting with Stetzel about permitting and zoning for the windchargers and substation sites, the Clipper Windpower reps also met with county engineer Kris Katzmann about use of county right-of-way for underground electrical lines as none will be constructed above ground. Preliminary studies have shown the county has enough wind to be a viable site. A test anemometer, 300 feet off the ground, is still collecting wind readings at a rural Adair farm. If constructed, the proposed windpark would require a $170.5 million investment by Clipper Windpower Inc.
Iowa’s municipal utilities announced plans Friday to build a $200 million power plant west of Dallas Center that will store wind energy in the ground and use it to generate up to 268 megawatts of electricity. The announcement is a culmination of more than four years of study and research by the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and others, although operation of the plant is still several years away. Construction would begin in 2009 with completion expected in 2011, said John Bilsten, general manager of Algona Municipal Utilities and vice president of the newly formed Iowa Stored Energy Park Agency. Only two similar wind storage plants are in existence, one in Germany and the other in Alabama. Both are about half the size of the plant planned for Dallas County, Bilsten said.
Mercer County Board Chairman Tom Harris touted the potential for wind farms during his annual “State of the County Address” this week. “We have three different companies interested in establishing wind farms here in Mercer County,” he said. He identified the three as Invenergy from the Chicago area, British Petroleum and Florida Light and Power. The county now is conducting a wind feasibility study with a test tower placed near the Mercer County Highway Department just west of Aledo. The county received a $14,000 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation for the study.
Iowa Gov.-elect Chet Culver is hoping to make his campaign pledge to pump $100 million into the state’s growing renewable energy industry a reality when lawmakers convene next month. Culver said the state has never had a better opportunity to develop the renewable energy and create new jobs than right now. He’s pitching the idea of the Iowa Power Fund and has said he would appoint a director of renewable energy with a cabinet-level office. He said renewable energy is the issue that all of Iowa, both rural and urban areas, can rally around.
AMES, Iowa -- Wind turbines generate power, but one was rendered powerless when it was knocked over by wind Friday. Nearly 800 MidAmerican Energy customers were without power on Friday morning in Wright County and school administrators had to cancel classes. There was a flicker of lights before the 100-foot tower supporting a wind turbine came crashing to the ground.
It's time for a truce. In reality, nuclear and wind are not competitive, but complementary. And beyond that, large amounts of both are essential, if we hope to continue meeting our power needs while cutting back on the fossil-fuel emissions that are heating up the global environment.
DES MOINES — U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin predicts the upcoming farm bill will put a greater emphasis on renewable energy, biomass production and conservation and less on subsidy payments to farmers. With Democrats capturing the majority in the U.S. Senate this week, Iowa’s junior senator could take over once again as chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee as a new farm bill is being drafted. Harkin, D-Cumming, shepherded the last farm bill as chairman of the agriculture committee in 2002. Although he said it is not a foregone conclusion he’ll assume chairmanship of the committee once again, he already has ideas of how he wants to shape the legislation. “We have to make changes,” Harkin said. “The times have changed; conditions have changed, a lot of things have changed.”
Orange City, Iowa is known for dutch heritage and it's windmills. The community will soon have six more in the downtown park. "Tulip Park" is undergoing a major renovation and city leaders have decided to bring in several new attractions. There will be extra stage space at the band shell, a new open-air shelter with a patio and tables, and six new windmills modeling the history of the Netherlands.
Two Wisconsin electric utilities on Wednesday signed agreements to tap power for their customers from a wind farm under development in north central Iowa. Madison Gas & Electric Co. said it plans to invest $56 million to buy 18 wind turbines and develop a portion of the Top of Iowa Phase II wind power project. The utility signed a contract with Midwest Renewable Energy Projects LLC, the developer of the project near Mason City, Iowa. The Madison-based utility said the deal would enable about 5% of the utility’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources. That would be enough for MG&E to comply three years ahead of schedule with the first phase of the state’s first renewable power mandate.
Conditional use permits and zoning variances for a proposed $200 million wind farm have been approved by Franklin County. The action came at a public hearing held Thursday night, Sept. 14, at the Hampton-Dumont Middle School by the Franklin County Board of Adjustment. About 100 people attended the meeting, which included outlining some details of the plans for the wind farm, which is being planned by Iowa Winds, LLC, of Iowa Falls. The permits, with standard setbacks of 1,200 feet from residences, were approved for proposed parcels in Marion, Morgan, Hamilton, Oakland, Lee, Grant and Osceola townships. Parcels in Reeve Township also were approved, but with a stipulation of a 2,500-foot setback from public use facilities such as Mallory Park, Maynes Grove Park, and the Maysville Schoolhouse.
HAMPTON — Franklin County’s Zoning Board of Adjustment approved 192 applications for conditional use permits and variances Thursday, advancing one of the nation’s most ambitious wind farm projects. The permits cover 350 farm fields involved in the Franklin County Wind Farm project, County Zoning Administrator Russell Wood said Friday. Some landowners have multiple parcels. Iowa Winds LLC of Iowa Falls plans to build a 200- to 300-megawatt wind farm covering about 40,000 acres around Bradford in southern Franklin County.
The first hurdle has been cleared to bring the nation's largest wind farm to eastern Iowa. Iowa Winds, LLC wants to build nearly 200 wind towers to generate electricity in southern Franklin County.
Rural electric board member Roger Arthur of Postville, Iowa says efficiency involves renewable energy sources, such as wind power, however he says back-ups are necessary to make it reliable. “When people throw that switch on they expect to have power,” Arthur told Brownfield from the regional meeting Tuesday, “so you have to able to do that 99.99 percent of the time that throw that switch.”