Resource Documents: Iowa (10 items)
Documents presented here are not the product of nor are they necessarily endorsed by National Wind Watch. These resource documents are provided to assist anyone wishing to research the issue of industrial wind power and the impacts of its development. The information should be evaluated by each reader to come to their own conclusions about the many areas of debate.
Author: Swanson, Janna
For over 4 years now I have been working every day to protect rural Iowa from the onslaught of Industrial Wind Turbines. Beginning with the day our family received a certified letter that the Rock Island “Clean” Line, a 500 mile wind energy power line, was seeking a 200 foot easement by the threat of eminent domain through our farm. Now I and many other Iowa residents are seeking to halt the hundreds and hundreds of Industrial Wind Turbines being proposed throughout our communities. I am a member of the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance, a grassroots organization started in Clay County Iowa that stopped the Rock Island Clean Line and now I am a board member of the Coalition for Rural Property Rights started in Palo Alto that seeks to stop MidAmerican’s and Alliant’s wind energy goals because those goals are destroying the land and the peace of our homes.
Everyone loves wind turbines you say? Iowa’s government supports Industrial Wind? The farmers love the land payments? No, the closer you get to wind installations the more you will find out how much industrial turbines are losing favor. This last year I have received phone calls from all over the Midwest. People are distraught. People have been going door to door talking to neighbors, putting up signs, writing letters to newspapers, holding meeting, starting groups, starting webpages and talking with their County governments.
For the most part the people that support Industrial Wind live in town or don’t live here at all. In Palo Alto and Clay Counties an average of 4 residences per affected townships have signed up to have Industrial Turbines on land parcels where they live. In Sac County only 12% of the landowners that have signed contracts for industrial turbines actually live on the land. In Blackhawk, Poweshiek, Mahaska, Ida, Greene and Boone Counties it is all the same story. The rural residents don’t want the installations, have no vote yet will have to live with the negative impacts every day for as long as the turbines last.
The people who live in the footprint stand to make the most money but they refuse to sign because they have heard the testimonies of others that signed before they knew of the negative impacts. Many of these people would not sign if they had to do it all over again.
There are many, many reasons why people do not want Industrial Wind and none of those reasons have anything to do with the turbines being renewable energy.
Industrial Wind Turbines can be loud. In rural areas we generally have a nighttime decibel reading of 25 dBA. Wind turbine companies in our state have been seeking to raise that level to 45-60 dBA. Many times people have not just one turbine, but multiple turbines surrounding their homes. The noise is likened the sound to a jet plane that never lands.
Wind turbines create wakes and turbulence for miles. The pressure changes in the air from wind turbines can cause some people to feel dizzy or have headaches, vertigo. Between the pressure and the noise, sleep can be difficult. A growing number of experts are studying these claims and finding that the people with these claims are indeed not “making it up” as the wind industry claims.
Shadow flicker sounds innocuous enough but often it is allowed for rural residents to have to put up with the large shadows that are thrown by the blades for every day for weeks on end all within their homes and on their property. It is like a strobe light you cannot turn off. This can also make people feel ill.
The look of the turbines. Maybe a few are not horrible but when hundreds are shoved in one area it clutters the whole landscape and the night sky is filled with blinking red lights. It can ruin the beauty of the entire countryside for 30 miles in every direction from an area half the size of Des Moines for one installation. The largest reason why we have only 5 offshore wind turbines (these were built behind an island) in the US is because people do not want turbines in their coastal views. Iowans love their views as well. Town and city residents want to have attractive surroundings and so do rural residents.
Wind turbines complicate farming. Gone is any hope of straight rows and that decreases efficiency. Gone is efficient aerial applications. Gone is the soil that is world class and the staple of our economy. Many Ag pilots refuse to fly within half a mile of turbines. Ground rigs don’t work if the ground is soggy or the crops are leaning. The large equipment used to build turbines can damage tile and often it is not fixed in a timely manner or not at all when the wind company disagrees that the damage is their fault.
Turbine failures are inevitable. Failures are also far more common than the wind industry claims. GCube Insurance is a renewable energy insurance provider. On their website they claim “there are an estimated 3,800 incidences annually of blade failure – a rate of 1 in 184, or, put more simply, 1 incident per 61 turbines in operation.” Turbines that throw blades or fall over could harm people working the fields. Turbine fires burn for days and local fire crews are not equipped to fight them.
Wind turbines kill birds. The wind companies like to say that they only kill a small fraction of our birds. They cite buildings, cats and cars as other things that kill birds. How many of those things are there compared with the relatively small amount of turbines? We have 261.8 million cars and 86 million cats compared to 50,000 or so turbines yet the last administration felt the need to give wind companies the right to kill 4,200 eagles each year. That number does not include the rest of the birds or bats.
Our communities are fighting. The local town-based governments that have control over the rural areas want the money. That money, provided by the Production Tax Credit, is driving this whole mess. Even Warren Buffett is quoted saying “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”
The American Wind Energy Association has done a great job of telling about how much the rural areas love Industrial Wind and the farmers love their payments. That is likely how they got our legislators to agree to this debacle. Now that the offers have been made and the numbers are in it looks like Iowans would rather preserve and protect our land and landscapes instead of giving MidAmerican or Alliant, that are planning to buy these projects from the wind companies, easement over thousands and thousands of our acres to control.
Many other communities across the US and around the world are voting Industrial Wind out of their communities or instilling restrictive zoning that makes installations unprofitable. Iowa is lagging far behind in protecting its people. They are allowing our utility monopolies to run over our rural communities to satisfy their own back-patting goals.
Wind companies often say that the mountain of evidence in the form of testimony and studies that speak to the problems people have living near industrial Wind turbines are all lies. Even we will admit that not everyone has these problems. I would respect the Industry more if they admitted the problems though they do list them in their contracts. Here is an excerpt from an Invenergy Neighbor Agreement contract that they offer non-participating residents within half a mile of their projects. For a small one-time payment their contract gives the developer an “exclusive easement on, over, under and across all of the Owner’s Property to permit Generating Units or other wind energy conversion systems on adjacent property or elsewhere to cast shadows or flicker onto the Owner’s Property; impact view or visual effects from the Owner’s Property; and cause or emit noise, vibration, air turbulence, wake, and electromagnetic and frequency interference.” If a company feels the need to offer these contracts then their turbines are too close. If a neighbor does not sign one of these contracts they will still receive the negative impacts. When communities instill zoning that protects homes and properties, there is not enough room for these 50–70-story-tall turbines.
People may say that farmers don’t like progress. If that were true many of us would still be farming with horses instead of machines with 250 horsepower. Farmers understand the cost of restoring our world-class soils after the turbines and the PTC have expired. The US does not make 4% of its energy from wind, only 4% of its electricity. That 4% has cost us billions. What we cut in greenhouse gases according to AWEA is 159 million metric tons of CO₂ worldwide. That is less CO₂ than the 290 million metric tons US forest fires release annually, just a tiny fraction of the 40 billion tons of CO₂ humans are responsible for every year. When you count the cost to our peace in our homes, loss of property values, harm to our wildlife, the harm to the land and agricultural businesses, the price of decommissioning, the loss of community relationships, the cost has been and will continue to be staggering.
Coalition for Rural Property Rights
Author: Upland Prairie c/o Apex Clean Energy
1. Lease. For the term and upon the provisions set forth in that Wind Energy Lease of even date herewith (the “Effective Date”) between Landlord and Tenant (the “Lease”), all of which provisions are specifically made a part hereof as though fully and completely set forth herein, Landlord hereby leases to Tenant, and Tenant hereby leases from Landlord for Wind Energy Purposes, that certain real property (the “Property”) located in Clay County, Iowa, as more particularly described in Exhibit “A” attached hereto, together with all rights of ingress and egress and all other rights appurtenant to the Property, as more particularly described in the Lease. Pursuant to the Lease, Tenant has the sole and exclusive rights to use the Property for Wind Energy Purposes.
2. No Interference. The Lease requires Landlord, during the Term of the Lease, not to cause nor permit any restriction or interference with: (a) the siting, permitting, construction, installation, maintenance, operation, replacement, or removal of Wind Facilities; (b) the flow of wind, wind speed or wind direction over the Property; (c) access over the Property to Wind Facilities; or (d) any other activities of Tenant permitted under the Lease.
3. Term. The term of the Lease shall expire eight (8) years after the Effective Date, if not extended or sooner terminated as provided in this Lease. Tenant may at its sole discretion extend the term of this Lease for an additional thirty (30) year term, with the further option to extend the term for two (2) additional ten (10) year terms.
4. Notice. This Memorandum is prepared for the purpose of giving notice of the Lease and in no way modifies the express provisions of the Lease. In the event of any conflict between the terms and provisions of the Lease and this Memorandum, the Lease shall control. This Memorandum shall continue to constitute notice of the Lease and all amendments thereto, even if the Lease is subsequently amended.
5. Successors and Assigns. The covenants, conditions and restrictions contained in the Lease shall run with the land and be binding on the successors and assigns of both Landlord and Tenant. Tenant and any transferee shall have the right throughout the Term to transfer, convey, sublease or assign this Lease or any interest in this Lease, the Property or the wind facilities to any person or entity without the consent of Landlord.
6. Ownership of Wind Facilities. Tenant shall at all times retain title to the Wind Facilities and shall have the right to remove them from the Property at any time. Landlord shall have no ownership, lien, security or other interest in any Wind Facilities installed on the Property and Landlord expressly waives, relinquishes and quitclaims any lien or security interest in and to the Wind Facilities or any other real or personal property of Tenant, whether arising at law or in equity.
7. No Severance of Wind Energy Rights. Landlord shall not assign or otherwise transfer an interest in the wind energy rights to the Property, or a portion thereof, separate from fee title to such real property, without Tenant’s consent which Tenant may withhold in its sole discretion.
8. Right of Reentry. Upon expiration or termination of the Term, Tenant shall have a license to enter onto the Property for eighteen (18) months following termination to restore the Property and for other activities as set forth in the Lease.
9. Transmission and Access Easement. If a utility requires and/or Tenant requests an easement in perpetuity with respect to one or more of the rights granted to Tenant pursuant to the Transmission and Access Easement, then Landlord shall grant the utility and/or Tenant, as applicable, such perpetual easement which covers the portion of the Property occupied by the utility’s and/or Tenant’s permanent roads, overhead and underground electrical and communications lines, collection and/or transmission equipment, as applicable, upon the terms set forth in the Lease.
As used herein, the term “Transmission and Access Easement” means, collectively, Tenant’s (i) exclusive right to construct, install, lay down, erect, improve, place, replace, remove, relocate and operate permanent roads, overhead and underground electrical and communications lines, collection and transmission equipment on the Property, and (ii) right of access more particularly described in Section 4.3 of the Lease.
Download original document: “Memorandum of lease”
Author: MidAmerican Energy
Highland Wind Energy, O’Brien County, Iowa
Although Developer is taking commercially reasonable measures to minimize the side-effects of the operation and construction of the Wind Farm’s Generating Units and other related facilities on property near or adjacent to the Wind Farm … and Developer does not expect these side effects to exceed any industry standards regarding sound, shadow flicker, or television interference, Owner understands and acepts that operation of Generating Units may have some impacts on the Wind Farm’s neighbors, including the Owner’s Property. …
1. Grant of Effects, Sound and Shadow Easements. Owner hereby grants and conveys to Developer and exclusive easement on, over, under and across all of the Owner’s Property to permit Generating Units or other wind energy conversion systems on adjacent property or elsewhere to cast shadows or flicker onto the Owner’s Property; impact view or visual effects from the Owner’s Property; and cause or emit noise, vibration, air turbulence, wake, and electromagnetic and frequency interference.
2. Construction Impact. Developer recognizes that Owner due to its location next to construction areas may be inconvenienced by construction noise and activities. Owner acknowledges Developer has informed Owner of the potential impacts of construction and agrees the compensation provided in this Agreement is adequate for the impacts described. …
20. Confidentiality. Owner shall not disclose to others (except Owner’s family, legal counsel, prospective Lenders and Assignees, and financial advisors who recognize and agree to preserve and maintain the confidentiality of such information) the terms of this Agreement. …
A one-time payment of One Thousand dollars ($1,000) upon signing this Agreement; and
If a Generating Unit is installed within one-half mile of a residence existing on the Owner’s Property as of the date of this Agreement, then Owner shall be paid either (initial one of the following options):
______ OPTION 1:
An annual payment of Five Hundred dollars ($500) … Such annual payment shall be adjusted upwards by the greater of two percent (2%) per year on a compunded basis or by the percentage change, if any, in the GDPIPD [gross domestic product implicit price deflator] for the the preceding available four quarters.. …
______ OPTION 2:
A single one-time payment of Nine Thousand dollars ($9,000). …
Download original document: “Highland wind farm neighbor easement agreement”
Author: Harris, Ronald; Zhou, Liming; and Xia, Geng
Abstract: Wind farms (WFs) are believed to have an impact on lower boundary layer meteorology. A recent study examined satellite-measured land surface temperature data (LST) and found a local nighttime warming effect attributable to a group of four large WFs in Texas. This study furthers their work by investigating the impacts of five individual WFs in Iowa, where the land surface properties and climate conditions are different from those in Texas. Two methods are used to assess WF impacts: first, compare the spatial coupling between the LST changes (after turbine construction versus before) and the geographic layouts of the WFs; second, quantify the LST difference between the WFs and their immediate surroundings (non-WF areas). Each WF shows an irrefutable nighttime warming signal relative to the surrounding areas after their turbines were installed, and these warming signals are generally coupled with the geographic layouts of the wind turbines, especially in summer. This study provides further observational evidence that WFs can cause surface warming at nighttime, and that such a signal can be detected by satellite-based sensors.
Ronald A. Harris, Liming Zhou, and Geng Xia
Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, State University of New York, Albany, N.Y.
Remote Sensing 2014, 6, 12234-12246; doi:10.3390/rs61212234
Download original document: “Satellite Observations of Wind Farm Impacts on Nocturnal Land Surface Temperature in Iowa”