With a few searches online, it is easy to get a taste of the contentious issue of wind turbines. But in recent years, wind energy has become the lowest cost source of new electricity – even without tax incentives. And the additional income source from wind easements can be significant for landowners. Where is the divide?
With findings cited by the Iowa Environmental Council, the benefits of wind energy add up on the local level:
Iowa has more wind in our electricity mix than any other state in the U.S. with 37% of our generation coming from wind. We are third nationally in overall wind capacity and our wind fleet will grow from the current 7,312 MW to 10,000 MW by 2020. This presents a major opportunity for Iowa landowners.
But while those are positive statistics, some are raising reservations and objections to wind turbine projects.
A very real sentiment but more difficult to pinpoint is that these projects are perceived to be brokered by power companies and politicians not living in the local area. That there is an arm’s length transaction aspect that feeds into a rural versus urban divide.
What perhaps is lost in the pros and cons of wind energy, is that producing any kind of energy comes at a cost and will impact the environment and people. Wind turbines provide clean, renewable, homegrown energy that does not threaten our water or air and creates good-paying jobs and economic benefits in rural Iowa.
The Iowa Environmental Council has published “Successful County Wind Siting Practices in Iowa” that reviews county ordinance provisions for wind development. On the local level, addressing issues such as setbacks, decommissioning schedules, and infrastructure impact during construction can be addressed to protect landowners. Whether working in an official role or simply interested in learning more about the issues of clean energy infrastructure, this is a valuable resource and can be found online here.
Peoples Company Land Managers are well versed in the pros and cons of wind turbines and can be a valuable resource for questioning landowners. If entering into a wind turbine contract is chosen, a Land Manager can be the consistent boots on the ground to monitor construction and ensure construction areas are returned to the original state post installation. To learn more about Peoples Company Land Management, please visit www.peoplescompany.com or email email@example.com.
The Iowa Environmental Council’s mission is a safe, healthy environment and sustainable future for Iowa through work in education, advocacy and coalition building. To learn more about the Iowa Environmental Council, please visit www.iaenvironment.org.
Mollie Aronowitz, AFM – Land Manager, Peoples Company
Kerri Johannsen - Energy Program Director, Iowa Environmental Council