(file photo)

A wind farm proposed for the southwest corner of Iowa has cleared one major hurdle.

The Fremont County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved Invenergy’s application for its Shenandoah Hills project. The site south of Shenandoah extends into Page County as well. Officials in Page County are still reviewing the company’s application.

Mark Crowl, a development manager with Invenergy, says the turbines would generate 27 million dollars in property taxes for Fremont County — and property owners in the county will get one-and-half million dollars in annual payments for easements.

“Those dollars for the project stay here in the county,” he said. “This is a project that allows some of our participating landowners that have agricultural operations to add to that, and to have a project that allows them to kind of ride out the ups and downs and stay here in Fremont County.”

The Fremont County board’s approval came after a two-hour-long public hearing Wednesday. Brian Langner of Farragut told the supervisors the only winner in the project is Invenergy. “The energy’s going to go into the grid. It is not going to help our energy costs one bit,” he said. “It’s going to continue to tear apart our communities.”

Supporters like Penny Bredensteiner of Northboro say the turbines will boost the county’s economy.
“This will help the tax base, I think, a great deal,” she said. “It will bring money into our county which has no industry, no major industry, coming into it.”

Tandon Van Scyoc of Sidney questions the project’s impact on wildlife and on farmland enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. “They don’t care about us,” he said. “They don’t care about any of us. It’s all for the dollar.” Others raised concerns about noise from the turbines and told the board many homes located near to the proposed turbines were not included in the project map.

A Fremont County supervisor said the project fits within the county’s wind power ordinance and had been reviewed by the county’s engineer and attorney. A Page County supervisor says there are several unanswered questions about the project, including the impact the turbines might have on the signal for KYFR, an A-M radio station in Shenandoah.

The Shenandoah Hills Wind Energy Center would be located near the Missouri border, in southwestern Page and southeastern Fremont Counties, between the communities of Riverton and Coin.

(By Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah)