Two years ago I talked with an Invenergy rep who dropped off a contract at my dad’s house while he was away for the winter. He said, “We want to COVER Kossuth and Humboldt counties with wind turbines”. At that point, no one who was receiving these contracts really understood them; the money sounded good and the picture being painted was rosy. I was skeptical, so started to dig further into the contracts. These contracts do not have the farmers’ best interests at heart. ISU’s publication “Evaluating a Wind Energy Agreement: A Brief Review” brings many questions to light by addressing contracts, lease vs. easements (often between 30-50 years), tax treatment of payments, property taxes, impacted third parties, farm program payments, land restrictions and damages, issues with neighbors and removal of towers, not to mention health concerns. This is a must read for anyone considering putting up wind turbines and for sure COUNTY OFFICIALS.
What about our landscape? Do we really want to see strings of huge (45-60 stories high from ground to blade tip) wind turbines stretched across our counties? What about the pressure being put on people, telling them their neighbors have signed up when in actuality they haven’t? And the “gag” order required in contracts should be a red flag for everyone! Anytime sharing knowledge and information in a situation like this is suppressed, we all need to be suspicious and cautious.
Wind energy will become obsolete and these gigantic towers will be abandoned and wind developers have made sure THEY will not be responsible for decommissioning because it is very expensive to take one down. Even the broken 20-some-year-old Enron turbines are still standing in western Iowa. Wind energy sounds like it is a win-win situation; good for the environment and good for farmers, but it is one of the most expensive ways to generate power. The big winners in this will be the DEVELOPERS. Federal subsidies end in 2020, so the push is on to sign up as many land owners as soon as possible.
As an aerial applicator, this issue affects not only me, but all farmers fighting an outbreak of insect infestation or plant disease. And what about GPS systems? There have been problems with disruption of GPS signals, stray voltage and surges.
Farmers need to be knowledgeable and cautious before signing a contract allowing energy companies to take control of their land. We want no part of it. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.