Winter winds blowing across Iowa are probably welcomed more than they used to be by the residents of one southwest Iowa town. The city of Lenox in Taylor County recently put a wind turbine into operation to generate electricity. David Ferris, the general manager of Lenox Municipal Utilities, says the turbine will produce about 10-percent of the town’s electricity needs — and makes the Lenox one of the “greenest” energy cities in the U.S. He says they already get 60-percent of their electricity from Western Power and hydroelectric dams, so the 10-percent wind power gives them 70-percent of their power from renewable sources. Ferris says the wind turbine power will feed city services.He says it will supply city buildings and free up some of the city tax money for other uses. Ferris says any excess power will be used for the 14-hundred citizens of the community. He says there won’t be a big financial windfall right away.He says there’s no projections to lower the rates, but he does hope they can hold the electric rates steady for awhile. He says they have to get the turbine paid for before they look at rate adjustments. Ferris says the whole project was made possible by a state renewable energy grant of 400-thousand, and the city is putting up the remaining 550-thousand. Small towns are not always though of as innovators, but he says the community has embraced the wind turbine idea. In fact, he says they’re stepping forward with money in a voluntary program to donate money for a future renewable project. He says Lenox is number one in the nation for donations to the program with 13 to 14-percent of the residents donating. Ferris thinks the towering turbine also adds to the character of the town. He says he thinks it looks great sitting out on top of a hill north of town. Ferris says they want to get a year of performance data on the new turbine before looking at expanding to another. He says they’re also exploring the use of biodiesel fuel as another use of renewable fuel to generate energy for the town.
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