ALCESTER, South Dakota | The Union County Fair hosts everything from a 4-H rabbit show to a smile contest. This year it also includes a booth aimed at blocking an industrial wind zone in the area.
Wind Energy Concerns about Rural Environment, or WE-CARE, is a nonprofit organization opposed to a proposed wind farm of 500 to 700 wind turbines in southern Lincoln and northern union counties.
“Our point is, people see wind turbines and they think ‘green energy,’ but we want people to know that it’s 2 to 3 million dollars per turbine, there’s 70 to 80 loads of concrete in the ground for the base of one turbine,” said Deanna Brouwer, an advocate for WE-CARE.
The wind farm is part of an initiative by Dakota Power Community Wind, whose objective is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The turbines, if constructed, would supply power for the Chicago area.
WE-CARE’s opposition stems primarily from local concerns. Brouwer and her associates are all Union and Lincoln county residents who are concerned about the suggested wind turbines.
“It’s a safety issue. They have ice throw in the winter, they make noise. The ice sits on the blade and then the chunks fall off,” said Brouwer. “To me it’s a lot of the looks of them.”
Brouwer’s husband, David, is a board member for WE-CARE. Brouwer herself is an advisory member. Members of the organization, about 15 in total, take turns going to various events (like the Union County Fair) and talking to those who approach their booth.
“We don’t want to live around wind turbines,” said Brouwer. “We don’t think this is the place for them.”
Currently, there are four test towers in Lincoln County and two in Union, which Dakota Power Community Wind set up to gauge wind levels in the proposed areas.
The county fair will run through Sunday in Alcester.
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