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MidAmerican proposes wind turbine project in Adair County

Wind turbines are a very real possibility for Adair County in the near future.

MidAmerican Energy will be erecting six meteorological towers immediately to measure wind velocity and to gather information on wind patterns in Adair and Union counties.

Representatives from MidAmerican met with Adair County residents at Orient-Macksburg High School May 24 to discuss plans for installing wind turbines.

Brian Rohrig of rural Orient attended the meeting and said MidAmerican’s plans seemed well-received.

“They had a question and answer session, and everyone at the meeting was welcoming it,” Rohrig said.

Director of media relations for MidAmerican Energy Allan Urlis said his company could install up to 150 wind turbines in the area.

Each wind turbine would occupy approximately 1/4 acre of land and could produce 1 1/2 megawatts of power, Urlis said.

“This really depends on the kind of turbines used,” he said. “We already have 323 wind turbines in Iowa generating electricity.”

Rohrig said MidAmerican chose Adair County for the wind turbine project because of its location with relation to the continental divide.

“This is supposed to be the tallest point between the Missouri River and the Mississippi River,” he said.

MidAmerican also has projects in Wright, Hamilton, Buena Vista, Sac, Pocahontas, Crawford and Carroll counties.

“All potential locations for what would be built depend on if we get approval of our plans from the Iowa Utility Board,” Urlis said. “This would mean up to 540 megawatts in Iowa, or 350 to 400 wind turbines.”

Urlis said several MidAmerican “Right of Way agents” will be on hand to visit with landowners interested in having wind turbines on their property.

MidAmerican proposed farmers lease land to MidAmerican, who would own the turbines, Rohrig said.

“At Thursday’s meeting, land owners had an opportunity to fill out a sheet expressing interest in an easement agreement,” Urlis said. “This is purely voluntary for land owners.”

The easement agreement includes $3,500 a year, per turbine, plus a 2 percent escalator option, for landowners who allow MidAmerican to install wind turbines on their property, Rohrig said. He said MidAmerican estimates $30 million in property tax revenues for Adair County over the next 20 years, if the wind turbine project goes through.

Clark BreDahl of rural Orient attended the meeting at O-M and said he was hesitant about the easement amount being offered to Adair County farmers.

“We want to welcome MidAmerican,” he said. “The leasing amount is relatively low compared to other sites around the state and we just want farmers to get a fair shake.”

Guy Powell of Greenfield said the MidAmerican project could be a great benefit to Adair county.

“This is really substantial because of property taxes,” Powell said. “This will help economic development, and people should be delighted because this’ll bring more of a tax base.”

By Andy Goodell

CNA staff reporter

Creston News Advertiser

1 June 2007