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Wind Energy “An Incredible Opportunity”

August 18, 2016
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

The citizens of Palo Alto County are facing a critical issue and an incredible opportunity---the development of wind energy conversion systems (WECs or wind turbine systems) in the county. County tax revenues are projected to increase each year and exceed $3.5 million annually in the seventh year and later years of the projects. Additionally, if approved by the County Supervisors, these renewable, clean energy projects will result in increased revenue for our schools and additional income for local businesses. Particularly noteworthy is the guaranteed annual income for a farmer who agrees to have wind energy devices (WEDs) placed in the field. A single WED that requires approximately an acre of land is estimated to provide over $10,000 in guaranteed annual income to the farmer.

Last Thursday the Palo Alto County Zoning Commission conducted a hearing on a proposed WECs ordinance for the County. While the Commission approved the WECs Ordinance, a majority of the board effectively attempted to veto the project by imposing a half-mile separation distance from any tower to an occupied residence. The half-mile separation was imposed even though other counties in Iowa apply separation distances that range from only 1000-1320 feet. The majority of the Commission applied this half-mile separation distance with full knowledge of the fact that the WEC industry would not proceed with the project if faced with this excessive separation distance.

The draft ordinance will now go to the Board of Supervisors. Palo Alto County citizens need to be aware of the pros and cons of WECs and need to communicate their views to their Supervisors. Based on the information I have received to date, the Supervisors should move forward on this project. I will continue to study the complex issues, and I will share my views with the Supervisors.

(signed) Dennis Mandsager

Emmetsburg, IA



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