A wind power project in northwest Iowa got a big boost this week with the announcement that the federal government has approved it’s request for 43-million dollars in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds. Rick Olesen of the Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative says the money fund two wind projects in Dickinson and Kossuth counties.
Oleson says they still have a long ways to go to make the projects work, but says without the bonds, they would not be able to go ahead. Oleson says they can now flesh out more of the details of the plan.
He says they’ll do more intensive studies of the winds in Dickinson and northern Kossuth County, they’ll talk with landowners, and also put together a power purchase agreement with their partner, Cornbelt Power in Humboldt.
Oleson says the biggest challenge right now is finding available turbines. Oleson says the turbine acquisition is a a huge challenge, but they have some options they’re working on. He says the interest in wind power has turbine makers backlogged. Oleson says the demand for turbines is "extremely high" and the new production facilities planned for Iowa aren’t up and running yet. He says their project is relatively small, seven turbines at each site.
Oleson says the best case scenario would have them ready to put up the turbines in a year and a half. The total annual energy production is projected at approximately 74 million kilowatt hours — or enough to provide electricity to power over four-thousand homes annually. Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative serves over 12-thousand people in Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, Palo Alto, and Pocahontas counties.