The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Wind energy to increase in Poweshiek



By Regina Logan


The Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing  on Monday, Sept. 19 to discuss selling three to five acres of land to MidAmerican Energy.

MidAmerican Energy serves around two-thirds of Iowa and nearly 1.5 million people across Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. The company has committed itself to being a leader in renewable-energy and “developing sustainable, climate-friendly solutions to meet customers’ energy needs, while keeping costs reasonable and affordable,” according to the MidAmerican Energy website.

Its parent company, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, has signed on to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge. By the end of 2016, MidAmerican intends for wind energy to account for approximately 48 percent of their energy production, and by 2017, own “more than 4,000 megawatts of renewable generation capacity,” enough to cover over 50 percent of its retail load.

The land, owned by Poweshiek County, would be used to establish a building for storage, operations and maintenance, and it would employ 25 staff.

“The county still has roughly 100 acres of farm ground on the south edge of Montezuma,” said Poweshiek County Board Supervisor Larry Wilson. The board intends to sell the land to MidAmerican. The public hearing will be held to hear any objections, concerns or commentary regarding the sale.

Wilson anticipates significant community benefits from the potential sale.

“The property tax produced from this won’t come along for a few years,” Wilson said, “[but the tax] will probably bring in the neighborhood of an additional two million. It’ll bring significant tax revenue to the schools and the county as well.”

Money that the county receives would be used “mostly for infrastructure,” Wilson said. “It will be a pretty significant addition to the tax base.”

Professor Jim Swartz, Chemistry, and a former member of the Iowa Energy Center Advisory Council, also foresees a positive reception from the community, both of this sale and general wind energy efforts in the community.

“The conversation around wind energy is quite different in Iowa than in many coastal cities,” Swartz said. “At the general population level, there has been a lot of support for wind energy as a renewable source. The agricultural community has been very positive about it. … It takes very little land, farmers can farm around it and they get income from leasing to companies that own and operate the wind turbines. That income doesn’t go up and down like farm income. … It’s a kind of constant.”

Swartz is confident there will be little objection to the construction of a windfarm and the impact it will have on the landscape.

“In some places, people worry about [wind farms] polluting the landscape,” Swartz said. “There is very little land in Iowa that is really natural, it’s highly cultivated. … I think people are more used to a man-made environment. I think there has been more resistance to it on the East and West Coasts.”

Iowa is currently a national leader in wind and renewable energy production. According to the United States Energy Information Administration, Iowa leads the country in wind energy production. The state produced more than 30 percent of its electricity from wind energy in 2015. And last week, the Iowa Utilities Board approved project Wind XI, a MidAmerican wind energy project that the American Wind Energy Association says will be the nation’s largest.

The Poweshiek County board hearing, open to the public, will be held on Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. in the boardroom of the county courthouse in Montezuma, Iowa.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *