People of Gage County,
Wind farms are all across the country. My wife and I are from Iowa, which has wind farms nearing 20 years in existence. My wife’s family farms have had turbines since 2013. I have classmates who invested into wind turbines and ones that lobbied against them for development limitations, setbacks and the like. I have no vested interest in the industry.
As development progresses, you are going to hear from people objecting for a number of reasons; Just Google Iowa Wind Turbine Objections.
Some objections are:
The killing of Wildlife: Motor vehicles, high lines and towers kill more. Bald eagle populations are at a modern high.
Decommissioning: All components, including the blades, are recyclable. New nacelles and blades are set on existing towers in northern Iowa on older units. My brothers-in-law have a 50 year covenant covering this and many other issues.
Landscape: No worse than existing utility structures. One sits down the road from the family farm since 2013. My brother in law says he hardly ever notices it any more.
Property value: I interviewed our county appraiser and treasurer at length. Neither have noticed any devaluation of acreages & sales are strong.
Let’s look at the positives:
Construction: One could hardly find a motel or campground for 4 counties around during construction. Restaurants and convenience stores, gravel and concrete suppliers and many other services benefited.
Post-construction: I had the county assessor pull a file on an average $3.3 million turbine. The landowner received over $10,000 in easement fees and the county over $23,000 in property tax a year. Like the county board chairman said, each one of them is almost like having 10 new homes on the tax roll. My classmate’s turbine, an older one, generated $330,000 in gross revenue last year.
Economic Benefits: The MidAmerican Energy website says the average Salary for a turbine maintenance worker is over $66,000 a year. Adair Co employs 50-60 workers. A similar facility north of Massena, IA in Cass Co. does the same.
We need renewable energy that puts the least environmental footprint on our ecosystem, and no one could argue the economic benefits both to landowners and the county.
I think the positives far outnumber the negatives.
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