A wind-energy conference going on in Minneapolis highlights Iowa’s prominent place in the wind-farm industry. Engineer Tom Wind is a consultant to developers and utilities planning wind-generating facilities like the Top of Iowa windfarm built last year in north-cetnral Iowa. He says the most wind turbines are in Minnesota, Iowa, California and Texas, and Iowa now has about 400-million dollars invested in wind turbines, one of the “bright spots” in the Upper Midwest. About 150 engineers, analysts, and developers are sharing ideas at the Minneapolis convention center. He says when you get a bunch of engineers together they’ll talk shop, which in this case means sites, what design and brand of wind turbine is best, as well as getting projects off the ground, sites, money, time to build and other practical considerations. And Wind says some farmers have come to the conference as well, lured by tales of money they can make farming wind. Farmers see it as an alternative way to make money, and wind generation is seen as a tool for economic development in rural communities. He says at the conference there were a couple sessions on “green credits” for making electricity pollution-free, which society is starting to value. Wind adds that Europe is farther ahead in environmental remedies and puts much more value on wind-generated power than the US does. The conference began yesterday and wraps up at noon today (Friday).
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