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Clipper plans for Iowa's largest wind farm

California-based Clipper Windpower Inc. is working on plans to create Iowa’s largest wind turbine farm, producing up to 300 megawatts of electricity near Adair.

The company already has other wind energy operations in Iowa, including a 200-employee wind turbine assembly plant in Cedar Rapids.

Clipper’s announcement is the latest example of Iowa’s growing wind energy industry, including wind farms and the manufacture of wind turbine generators.

Alliant Energy, for example, announced plans in April to develop the state’s largest wind farm, a 200-megawatt operation, also near Adair. Clipper’s project, however, would be larger in terms of electrical generation.

Newton is hoping to become the site of a 723-employee factory run by a company that manufacturers wind-turbine blades and other products.

Currently 967 megawatts of electricity, or about 5 percent of the state total, are produced by about 950 wind turbines in Iowa, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Clipper, in a statement, says it has secured more than 2,000 acres in the Adair area under Windpark Easement Agreements that provide royalties for each wind turbine placed on a property owner’s land. Clipper is still seeking additional land.

Clipper calls the proposed project “Morning Light,” named after an 18th Century clipper ship.

Morning Light would use 120 2.5-megawatt Clipper turbines. The farm, Clipper said, could produce an estimated 1 million megawatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power about 98,000 average American homes.

Morning Light would be built in phases, starting as early 2009 or 2010, Clipper says.

By William Ryberg

desmoinesregister.com

7 August 2007