Debate over wind turbines, Invenergy’s ‘Shenandoah Hills’ wind farm continues in Page County
Credit: Ethan Hewitt | KMA | Jul 26, 2022 | www.kmaland.com ~~
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(Clarinda) – Both opponents and proponents of wind turbines and a proposed project within Page County continue to make their respective cases.
During its regular meeting Tuesday evening, the county’s board of supervisors discussed Invenergy’s “Shenandoah Hills” wind farm project with Page County Horizons and their continued concerns with the company’s permit application. Mary Ann Gibson is a landowner in the Lincoln and Morton Townships. Gibson asked the board who would hold Invenergy or a respective project owner accountable for complaints filed by residents or companies such as KYFR for signal interference.
“The ordinance states that the owner/operator which is Invenergy or a company to which they sell the project, receives a written complaint and takes reasonable steps to respond,” said Gibson. “My question is, what next if the issue isn’t resolved? That isn’t spelled out in the ordinance. Have you thought about ‘where would that issue go, who would be responsible?'”
Gibson says while Invenergy has made the case they wish to “partner” with the county and its residents, she feels their actions don’t align with that goal. Including proposing turbines with three kilometers of KYFR’s AM transmitter towers and one a quarter mile away from the Wabash Trace Nature Trail – which could fall within a setback laid out for “public areas” in the county ordinance.
Additionally, with just a few months left of the 180-day moratorium on commercial wind project applications established in late March, Gibson proposed a task force or committee composed of board members and residents to review the ordinance.
“To me, that seems like a reasonable process,” said Gibson. “There are many people who have been reviewing, researching, and studying the matter and looking at ordinances from around the country and other places in Iowa. I think there would be people willing to contribute time and energy towards the process.”
Supervisor Chuck Morris, along with the other board members, said they would be open to a committee that could work within the next 60 days to potentially reach an agreement on changes.
During the meeting’s public comment period, the board also heard from a proponent of wind energy. While not a county resident, Lisa Lawrence, says she was speaking on behalf of several friends in the county that had felt they had been bullied or coerced to withdraw their land from the “Shenandoah Hills” project. One concern many residents raise is how companies dispose of the turbine blades – typically made of fiberglass. Lawrence says companies in the United States continue to find different ways to recycle the blades, including Global Fiberglass Solutions, which converts the material into ecopoly pellets.
“Pellets can be transformed into a variety of products such as warehouse pallets, flooring material, or parking bollards,” said Lawrence. “Based on its demand forecast, Global Fiberglass Solutions anticipates being able to process 6-7,000 blades per year at each of its two plants. You want to guess where those plants are? One is in Texas, and the other one is right here in Iowa.”
The Iowa plant is located in Newton. Additionally, Lawrence says companies such as Mid-American Energy are partnering with Carbon Rivers, Inc. out of Tennessee to recycle the turbines rather than landfilling them through grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
in other business, the board..
–Approved a preliminary design contract for a bridge replacement on C Avenue to CB&A Architects for $20,130.
–Approved a Safe Streets for All Action Plan resolution.
–Approved awarding the contract for the 280th Street bridge replacement contract to Godbersen-Smith Construction for roughly $1.4 million.
–Approved renewing the county’s eligibility for FEMA dollars through the National Flood Insurance Program.
–Approved Treasurer Angie Dow’s semi-annual report for publication.
–Approved a Hazard Mitigation Grant resolution allowing the county to access FEMA dollars on related issues for the county and its municipalities.
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