(Clarinda) – Officials from a Chicago-based power generation company have unveiled the first details about a proposed wind development project in Page and Fremont counties.
During the Page County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning, representatives of Invenergy outlined preliminary details of the 200-megawatt project, which has been in development since 2017. While maps of the project are still being finalized, Invenergy’s Isaac Lamppa says the project will be located in both Page and Fremont counties south of Shenandoah, extending to the Missouri border. Lamppa says the company has experience with developing wind projects in the past.
“I know that we said that we’re a global company, but Iowa wind has been our bread and butter,” said Lamppa. “We have completed over 15 of these-scale wind projects throughout the state of Iowa. We’ve worked with over 20 counties throughout the state of Iowa. We’ve done this before. We do it responsibly, and we hope that our permit shows that.”
Mark Crowl with Invenergy says the project has 270 participating landowners signed up and is expected to generate around $2 million annually in property tax payments to the county, as well as $3 million each year in landowner payments. Crowl says the company has worked with the participating landowners to tailor the project to their land.
“Wind is a way that can fit in with the existing agricultural practices in place across our project areas and allow our project participants an additional revenue stream to help secure their operation, secure their outfit, provide stability for their families and the community for an extended period of time,” said Crowl.
Page County Supervisor Jacob Holmes questioned the officials following their presentation. Holmes pointed to the property tax schedule for wind turbines, which differs from what other commercial properties pay in tax. Under a policy enacted in 2008 by the Board of Supervisors, wind turbines pay 0% in property tax in their first year and have gradual increases to 30% of the levy by year seven.
“Wind can come to Page County if they come fair and right,” said Holmes. “I believe they should pay the same tax, and if you’re all about helping us and doing the right thing, you should think that too. I believe they should also respect the property line. If there’s any need for a setback, it should be from the property line, I’ve said that 100 times, then so be it. You’re coming in here at a huge advantage and to act like we’re receiving all the advantage and all the gain, look any direction from this courthouse, there’s business owners paying 90% times the levy. You’re coming in here at 30% after seven years.”
The presentation came after six residents spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting. Krystal Worl says wind turbines present a health hazard to residents, and she would like more protections for non-participants.
“We are not small and insignificant,” said Worl. “Our homes matter, our lifestyles matter. With the many concerns against the construction of these wind turbine farms, above all, our health is not subject to be collateral damage for your profit-grabbing, government-funded scheme. We have failed as a community if the only way to improve the lives of some people is to destroy the lives of others.”
Brandon Hunter lives near Blanchard on five acres. He says his family has been impacted by wind turbines in northwest Missouri near their property. He asked the supervisors to strike a better balance between participating and non-participating landowners.
“Compromise could be not placing them within a mile of acreages that do not want them, or looking at a color difference like having gray instead of white, there are studies that suggest that colors are better for the environment and aesthetics,” said Hunter. “Blinking red lights, we can literally see five or six different wind farms from our location, all blinking in different patterns. It’s already annoying and we were forced to move our kid from his south bedroom in times of operation to diminish the flicker and noise.”
County resident Jane Stimson says she has spent time researching easements that have been filed with the County Recorder for wind development agreements. She says the turbines will disproportionally benefit landowners who don’t live in the county.
“50% of the landowners who have signed up for a wind turbine are absentee landowners from states like Arizona, New Mexico, Delaware, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, California, Florida, Nebraska, as well as other property owners closer, but who do not live in Page County,” said Stimson. “Some of them will be able to see Shenandoah Hills wind turbines. I know that because from the east side of Page County, I’ve been seeing flashing red lights at night to the west and south from 25 miles away in Atchison and Nodaway counties.”
No action was taken on the project by the board. Invenergy officials indicated it could be another month before they submit their application for the project and building permits. Once submitted, the supervisors will hold a public hearing before either approving or denying the project.
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