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Wind Energy Is Creating Jobs

September 8, 2016
Emmetsburg News

Dear Editor:

This is a follow-up to recent letters regarding the wind energy zoning discussion for Palo Alto County. Dennis Mandsager and local VFW leaders sponsored a public forum on Wind Energy (Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016). The size of the audience attested to the high level of interest. Public forums are rare; elected officials don't like them but could learn from them. One local civic club refused to let its members discuss the wind topic at their regular weekly meeting.

Tuesday night (Aug. 30) in Emmetsburg, the VFW "served the public" with a come one come all meeting. An informed array of panelists provided factual responses to questions that ranged from the so called flicker effect to crop spraying. Answers? (1) The flicker effect should be diminished by the 1500 ft. set backs which received preliminary approval earlier in the day, and (2) crop sprayers are able to call ahead when they plan to spray a field so the wind technicians can turn off the wind towers for that day. The willingness to take questions relieved anxieties. It was also helpful that earlier in the day first steps had been taken adopting some of the zoning restrictions. Future actions by Palo Alto County Supervisors will be necessarybut open to the public.

Farmers and land owners learned at the public forum that multiple-year (long term) legal agreements can be secured with the wind energy companies. I don't own farm land but I admit that for a moment I sat there and thought how nice the checks would be for the kids and grandkids after we are gone. I snapped out of my fantasy however and instead, considered the immediate benefits. Wind energy is creating "jobs." Iowa Lakes is a first-in-the-nation training center. Dan Lutat the Wind Energy program guru for Iowa Lakes Community College pointed at one of the wind energy experts on the panel of speakers for Mid-American Energy who is a graduate of the Iowa Lakes wind program. And there are many more out there in the industry Lutat told the audience. Wind technician jobs are high skill-high pay jobs.

More meetings, open to the public, will be held when Palo Alto county zoning and supervisors as the projects move forward. The first big step has been taken.

(signed) Dave Nixon

Emmetsburg, IA



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