They stand as tall as the statue of liberty, but some Iowans who live next to them say they don’t always make the best neighbors.
Danielle Kohl built her house around the same time Mid-American Energy built its wind farm near Blairsburg.
She and most of her neighbors jumped at the chance to get in on the project. Her husband`s family was offered land payments for two turbines.
The tall gleaming white towers don`t bother her a bit.
“It’s not a hum but it’s just every once in a while you’ll hear a whoosh and that’s if it’s perfectly calm. It’s pretty relaxing. My husband likes to sit out front and watch them in the evening,” she explained
The scenery outside Kim Wedemeyer`s house north of Adair changed last year. Once a supporter of wind energy the wind towers have changed her mind. “I can live with getting used to seeing them, but the sound is what’s really bad.”
On windy days, she compares it to the constant roar of a car or airplane.
Wedemeyer even bought sound-proof windows, but that didn`t block the noise inside her house.
You won’t find a bigger fan of wind energy in the state than Harold Prior. He’s the founder and executive director of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. “We see wind energy for Iowa as Iowa’s next biggest cash crop.”
Just like corn, soybeans and hogs.
Right now, about 25 percent of all power in Iowa comes from wind.
“About 360 average sized homes can be powered for a year with a 1 megawatt turbine,” Harold explains.
The newer turbines generate anywhere from one-and-half to more than two megawatts.
Last week’s announcement by Mid-American is bringing the state closer to that goal.
“We are going to pursue 1,050 megawatts in addition to megawatt capacity that we already have in the state. That could be up to more than 650 new wind turbines in the state depending on how the wind projects map out,” spokesperson Tina Potthoff said.
She says the utility hasn`t scoped out an exact location yet.
The more than 12-hundred turbines are clustered in the windiest parts of the state.
Wherever the projects end up, Mid-American intends to be a good neighbor by following all city and county ordinances…
Most of us will never live next to a wind farm, “There’s not going to be a turbine on every square mile, on every street corner,” Harold said.
Some say it’s costing them their way of life, “You just like the quiet country living and we don’t have that anymore,” Kim said.
Yet others welcome the changing landscape of rural Iowa.
“It’s really beautiful at night. The horizon going down,” Danielle said.
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