Articles filed under Zoning/Planning from Iowa
The Marshalltown City Council Monday looked to put some regulations on electricity-generating wind turbines. The move came on the heels of Marshalltown's first application for a large-scale wind turbine which was proposed to be put on a property off of Merle Hibbs Boulevard. While the turbines have caught on in rural areas, they have been slow to infiltrate urban areas. "There's nothing addressed in the section at all about wind turbines," said City Planner Stephen Troskey. "This section is all new."
MidAmerican Energy is developing a 100-turbine wind-power project in Carroll County that will stretch from just inside Carroll's two-mile limit to Breda. The $300 million turbine project started in recent days with the construction of access roads and other initial work, Tom Budler, Mid-American's general manager for wind power, said in an interview with the Daily Times Herald. MidAmerican plans to move swiftly on the project. "It will absolutely be on the line by the end of 2008," Budler said. ...Budler and other MidAmerican officials were in Carroll Monday for a city council meeting to discuss a proposed ordinance that would affect seven of the 100 turbines. Those seven would be in the jurisdiction of the city, and officials want more information about height, setbacks and possible impact on other development before any ordinance goes into effect.
Members of a city review board unofficially agreed Tuesday that installing a personal wind turbine on a residential property just inside the Marshalltown city limits would be a good fit, but they held off from steering the beginnings of a residential wind turbine policy that currently does not exist. "There are a litany of other issues. I have very little problem with your property," Board of Adjustment member Sherm Welker told Garland and Julie Schossow, who sought a variance to the 35-foot height limitation at their 1811 E. Merle Hibbs Blvd. home in order to put up a 71-foot tall windmill, "but if I say yes to you, how can I justify a no to somebody else? We're making up the rules as we go and even though we have the authority, I don't know if that's in the public's best interest."
In other discussion, Clay County Zoning Administrator Tammy McKeever talked to the supervisors about possible changes to zoning ordinances in unincorporated areas of the county. McKeever noted the prevalence of wind turbines since zoning ordinances underwent an extensive review 18 years ago. "Right now, the way the zoning ordinances read is: We have a setback of 50 feet all the way around," for turbines, McKeever said. "Well, that's pretty close to a road and pretty unheard of in zoning. ...McKeever explained that county zoning has two major roles -- to protect prime agricultural land and to ensure individuals have an opportunity to enjoy their property. "If you have a wind turbine built 50 feet from your house that you didn't want necessarily, it could infringe on your enjoyment of your property, so that is what we're looking at," she said.
Members of the board of adjustment unanimously approved a special exemption allowance to Ulland Brothers. The company, which is based in Austin, Minn., wants to use rock from the quarry to build access roads for a nearby project to erect a wind turbines. ...Blasting and crushing can only take place from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Residents will be notified before blasting takes place. "A siren signal will sound before we start any blasting," said Valerie Raverty, aggregate manager for Ulland. "We don't foresee any problem with notifying people with phone calls, either."
Plans for a $600 million 300-megawatt wind farm in North Iowa are moving forward. The Iowa Utilities Board granted a regulatory waiver last week to Horizon Wind Energy to create its Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm in Howard and Mitchell counties. The waiver allows two of the 12 lines receiving electricity from the turbines to be over the 25-megawatt limit. Construction is expected to begin this year, said Doug Jones, senior project manager. Jones and other local company officials work out of offices in Grand Meadow, Minn. ...The company also got a waiver of property owner notification requirements. State regulators say it's not necessary since wind projects don't have the same noise and environmental issues as gas or coal-fired facilities.
Officials with California-based Clipper Windpower are announcing plans to create one of Iowa's largest wind farms near the western Iowa town of Adair. A second company, Invenergy of Chicago, wants to construct another wind farm nearby in Adair and Cass counties. Invenergy development manager Ben Hach says they already have easements from landowners near Casey, south of Interstate 80.
California-based Clipper Windpower Inc. is working on plans to create Iowa's largest wind turbine farm, producing up to 300 megawatts of electricity near Adair. The company already has other wind energy operations in Iowa, including a 200-employee wind turbine assembly plant in Cedar Rapids. Clipper's announcement is the latest example of Iowa's growing wind energy industry, including wind farms and the manufacture of wind turbine generators. Alliant Energy, for example, announced plans in April to develop the state's largest wind farm, a 200-megawatt operation, also near Adair. Clipper's project, however, would be larger in terms of electrical generation. Newton is hoping to become the site of a 723-employee factory run by a company that manufacturers wind-turbine blades and other products. Currently 967 megawatts of electricity, or about 5 percent of the state total, are produced by about 950 wind turbines in Iowa, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Clipper, in a statement, says it has secured more than 2,000 acres in the Adair area under Windpark Easement Agreements that provide royalties for each wind turbine placed on a property owner's land. Clipper is still seeking additional land.
State regulators have given Iowa's largest utility the green light for boosting its capacity to generate electricity using wind power. Allan Urlis, spokesman for MidAmerican Energy, says Iowa's quickly becoming a national leader in harnessing the blowing breezes to power our homes and businesses.
MidAmerican Energy Co. plans to expand its wind energy site in Pocahontas County and establish new wind farms at six other locations, including two more in western Iowa. The Iowa Utilities Board gave MidAmerican the go-ahead to add up to 540 megawatts of new wind energy generation. In conjunction with the regulatory approval, MidAmerican said it would add 75 megawatts, or 50 turbines, to a project under construction near Pomeroy, MidAmerican spokesman Allan Urlis said Tuesday. It originally called for 123 megawatts. The project, being built by enXco Development Corp., is scheduled for completion by the end of this year. MidAmerican officials also are scouting for potential wind energy sites near the cities of Carroll, Spencer, Adair, Charles City, Orient and Walnut, Urlis said.
ORIENT - Landowners in Adair County may be better equipped to understand MidAmerican Energy's efforts to install wind turbines on their land. An informational meeting at Orient-Macksburg High School Thursday evening included presentations from Wind Turbine Specialist Tom Wind; Iowa State University Agriculture Law Professor Roger McEowen and MidAmerican Energy General Manager of Wind Development Tom Budler. Budler said there are five meteorological towers up in the area, which are being used to study the feasibility of installing wind turbines in Adair County. He said the studies, which began this month, should conclude by mid-August.
The Coralville City Council directed the mayor to submit a letter to the Johnson County Board of Adjustment recommending a wind turbine not be placed in an open area north of Coralville at its meeting Tuesday. Todd Hammond of Iowa Energy Alternatives had planned to install the turbine near the First Christian Church on Lincolnshire Place, off North Dubuque Street.
A major component of Alliant Energy's New Energy for a New Generation plan first announced in January has attracted a long list of critics. By last week's deadline to petition against Alliant Energy's proposal to sell all of its Interstate Power & Light Company electric transmission assets to Michigan-based ITC Midwest LLC, 23 businesses, organizations or associations had filed an intervention with the Iowa Utilities Board. Alliant leaders said the sale is hoped to help defray the $1 billion cost of the proposed power plant in Marshalltown, another component to the plan alongside new wind farms in the state.
Wind turbines are a very real possibility for Adair County in the near future. MidAmerican Energy will be erecting six meteorological towers immediately to measure wind velocity and to gather information on wind patterns in Adair and Union counties. Representatives from MidAmerican met with Adair County residents at Orient-Macksburg High School May 24 to discuss plans for installing wind turbines. Brian Rohrig of rural Orient attended the meeting and said MidAmerican's plans seemed well-received.
Dallas Center residents who want a firsthand account of how a proposed $200 million power plant would affect their community will have that opportunity Thursday. That's when Kent Holst, who oversees an Iowa municipal utilities energy plant project, and his associates will give a presentation on the project to store wind energy in the form of compressed air in an underground rock formation. The officials will take questions from the public following their presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday at Dallas Center Memorial Hall, 1502 Walnut St.
ALEXANDER - Wind Capital Group, based in St. Louis, has proposed building a wind farm on 11,000 acres in Franklin County. The 150-megawatt Buffalo Creek Wind Farm would lie north of Highway 3 between Alexander and Latimer, said Dean Baumgardner, senior vice president of development and operations for Wind Capital. The project would include 60 to 90 turbines and cost from $200 million to $300 million. It would serve Iowa homes and businesses.
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.