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Support For Wind Energy in Palo Alto

April 5, 2016
Emmetsburg News

To whom it may concern:

Over the last few months, there has been quite a bit of discussion surrounding proposed wind energy projects in Palo Alto County, and rightfully so. Any decision of this magnitude requires thoughtful consideration and an honest discussion of the impacts of such projects.

I believe we have a tremendous opportunity to discuss the positive impacts of wind energy on Palo Alto County and the chance to export another high-value commodity: electricity. The County Board of Supervisors recently hosted a meeting to cover the angles of what wind energy will mean to our county. In case you weren't able to attend the meeting, here are some highlights:

Iowa currently employs between 6,000 and 7,000 people in wind energy.

Iowa has already seen roughly $10 Billion dollars invested in wind and it is expected that another $8 to $10 Billion dollars will be invested in wind over the next 5 years.

Former Senator Jack Kibbie wrote a letter to the Board indicating his support for the RES Americas Lost Island Wind Project.

Aerial spraying is still possible, although some individual companies will choose to not spray within wind farms or charge more for the service.

Impacts to electronics can be estimated prior to construction and the wind project owners can likely resolve any impacts to electronic signals.

RES Americas provided a list of contacts from independent organizations knowledgeable about wind energy, such as the Iowa Farm Bureau, the Iowa Energy Center, and Iowa Lakes Community College.

Both a 'Road Maintenance Agreement' and a "Decommissioning Agreement' would be signed by the wind energy companies prior to starting construction that would commit the companies to repairing any damages done to roads and putting money aside to take the turbines down at the end of the project.

If both projects from RES Americas and Invenergy are completed:

There would be 450 Megawatts of wind energy installed in the county, representing an investment of roughly $700 Million dollars in Palo Alto County.

Palo Alto County would receive roughly $120 Million dollars in property tax payments over the 25 year expected lifetime of the projects.

Of this, roughly $2.4 million dollars per year would go to schools.

Over $3 Million dollars in land owner payments would be paid to participating landowners each year.

Each project would support 200-300 jobs during construction.

There would be 20-30 new full-time operations and maintenance jobs created. According to Dan Lutat of Iowa Lakes CC, these jobs can pay $75 - $90k per year with full benefits.

In all of my interactions with the wind companies, they have been honest, transparent, and helpful as I educate myself on wind energy. I am also supportive of responsible zoning ordinances to protect non-participating landowners and citizens of Palo Alto County. I can only hope that as the Board of Supervisors and the residents of Palo Alto County consider wind energy projects and the related zoning ordinances, we analyze the impacts objectively and make the best decisions for the County. I am willing to voice my support for wind energy and hope you will do the same.

(signed) Phil Currans

Ruthven, IA



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