MidAmerican Energy announced this week it’s got permission from the Iowa Utilities Board to more than double the amount of windpower generating facilities it runs in Iowa. The power company’s spokesman Alan Urliss says when they build one of the giant windmills on a farmer’s land, it doesn’t remove that land from cultivation.
The agreement with farmers is to rent the land where the turbine is, but Urliss says once construction of that tower is done there’s still room to plant crops and access onto that land. The only thing out-of-service to the farmer, who he points out will receive yearly payments for use of the land, is an access road so maintenance workers can get to the turbine, and the outline where the “footprint” of the tower stands.
A study for the federal department of energy on farmland in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota indicates that last year farmers could expect to receive easement payments of two thousand to more than four-thousand dollars per turbine.