116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Turbines could rise in Johnson County by 2013
May. 12, 2011 8:03 am
IOWA CITY - Leaders with PNE Wind USA on Tuesday told the Johnson County Board of Supervisors they hope to build 10 to 20 wind turbines in Johnson County by 2013.
In February, PNE announced plans to build a wind farm on about 3,000 acres of land east of Solon. Project Developer Keith Kurtz said the company is continuing to develop the plan.
Iowa City area Business Development Director Mark Nolte said he supports the plan laid out by PNE and said the company has a proven track record that should be appealing to Johnson County residents.
“These guys have it, they're an established company,” Nolte said. “This is a county that is cutting edge and looking long term.”
Supervisors voiced both their ideas and concerns during the hour and fifteen minute session. Board member Janelle Rettig said a project like this needs to create jobs in the community while offering renewable energy.
“We don't want to face decisions about putting nuclear power plants or coal fire plants in Iowa,” Rettig said. “I hope this can lead to other opportunities as well.”
The board also expressed concerns about who will benefit from the wind energy. Kurtz said all energy produced in Johnson County will stay local and not be pipelined to places like Chicago. But Kurtz also told the board that “going green” won't necessarily cut down on energy rates.
“We sell the energy to the providers,” he said. The providers ultimately determine the rates.
“I'm confident we'll have something that will be appealing to the farmers, and to the business people and to the public in general,” said Rod Sullivan, vice chairman of the board.
Board members also expressed interest in taking a “field trip” to other counties that have welcomed wind farms as part of the renewable energy development process in Johnson County.
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