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Wind turbine to be installed near Osceola

The drive down to Osceola will be slightly different once the 2.5-megawatt wind turbine is installed 1 mile southwest of the area.

Phil Burke, manager of Polk County Rural Public Power, said the idea was introduced after the company’s most recent customer survey indicated 66 percent of customers believe Polk County should utilize a combination of renewable and tradition energy resources. As a result, Burke said, approximately 6 percent of the county’s energy source will be generated by the turbine.

“We are recognizing that as our society moves along, there’s definitely a desire of that,” Burke said.

Installation of the Bluestem Energy Solutions turbine is expected to start in September. Burke said he hopes to see it up and running by the end of the year, noting this will be the first commercially produced turbine to be installed within the county.

Based in Omaha, Bluestem Energy Solutions provides renewable energy solutions customized to meet an assortment of needs.

“We are excited to work with Polk County Rural Public Power to diversify the district’s energy mix while at the same time providing a financial hedge against inflationary pressures,” said Adam Herink, vice president of Bluestem Energy Solutions through a released statement.

“Local delivered wind energy gives the district’s more than 4,700 customers decades of rate certainty for a portion of their energy, including more than 2,200 residential ratepayers in towns like Osceola, Clarks, Shelby and Silver Creek. In addition, the project offers local investment and green attributes for PCRPPD, increasing the area’s economic activity and development opportunities.”

Burke said the purchase agreement allows PCRPPD staff to estimate the energy level and rates for the next 30 years.

“It gives us some stabilization,” he said. “We will know what the increases are going to be and what the rates are going to be.”

Burke said he looks forward to seeing how the turbine corresponds with existing generators.

In today’s time, Burke said there’s a higher need for renewable energy, especially for industrial and commercial use, but many communities have yet to adopt this source of energy. Burke noted the installation of the turbine can help set Polk County apart and eventually become a model for other communities to emulate.

“I am excited about the opportunity to learn about wind energy,” he said. “It’s nice to see something done here … It gives us some hands-on experience looking at how that is produced and how it affects our systems.”