Wind-generated electric power may come to Monroe County. So said an electric power company to the Monroe County Commission on Friday.
However, the plans are preliminary, with at least three to five years needed for development and the cooperation of enough landowners to develop a wind farm with enough capacity to make it affordable for developers.
Mark Trumbalur from NextEra Energy Resources told the commission that the company is exploring placing a wind-farm capable of generating between 100 t0 200 megawatts of electricity (that’s enough to power 30,000 to 50,00 homes) in the far southeast corner of Monroe County, near the Ralls County border.
“That area is good location for producing wind-energy,” Trumbalur said following the briefing to the commission.
He said the company is reaching out to elected officials so that they are not surprised when they hear that negotiations are taking place with area landowners.
“It takes a of planning to make this happen,’ he said. “We believe in getting involved in the community and communicating.”
The company is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Inc. of Juno Beach, Fla., which owns Florida Power and Light, and through the NextEra Energy Resources business unit operated wind-energy farms around the nation, including one just outside of Kansas City.
A company spokesman said that NextEra operates in 29 states and Canada, wholesaling about 19,990 megawatts. The company generates more than 13,00 megawatts of electricity from wind farms, and another 1,900 megawatts from solar generation.
Developers and members of the county commission say that the project to place wind farms in the county is not remotely related to the controversial Grain Belt Express project to run electric transmission lines across Missouri, including Monroe and Ralls counties. The Grain Belt project proposes to wheel power through several states to become a part of East Coast power grids.
Presiding Monroe County Commissioner Mike Minor said that eminent domain is not a part of constructing the winds farms.
“They will work with landowners,” he said.
Bryan Gamer, the company’s manager of communications, echoed Minor’s statement.
“Eminent domain is not a part of this project,” he said. “We will be negotiating with individual landowners.”
He said the company hopes to develop a wind farm in Monroe County, adding that a wind power project would need anywhere from 200-250 jobs during construction, and would likely employ 10 to 12 people once it becomes operational.
Power generated from the wind farm would be wheeled through existing transmission lines.
“We’re excited to work with Monroe County and talk about the opportunity wind energy can bring to the area,” Gamer said. “NextEra Energy Resources has worked with rural communities across the country to create local jobs and provide millions of dollars in landowner payments and local tax revenue. Harvesting the wind is a great way to complement existing farming and ranching operations and generate clean, renewable, home-grown energy.”
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