Letters to the Editor

Questions to ask about wind turbines

To the editor:

Does Washington County have a wind energy ordinance guiding the setbacks an industrial wind turbine can be placed from your home? How close is too close to avoid flicker, noise, infrasound, interference with radio, telephone, and radar?

Do you know if Washington County has an ordinance giving wind energy companies special tax valuation? Wind energy companies request this early in their entry into a county. Iowa Code 427B.26 allows a county board of supervisors to give special tax valuation to wind energy conversion property: after activation of an industrial wind turbine the first year they pay, 0%; 2nd year, 10%; 3rd year, 15%; 4th year, 15%; 5th year, 20%; 6th year, 25%; 7th year, 30%. Do you get special tax valuation for your business?

Does Washington County have a decommissioning plan requiring adequate funds be set aside for the removal of a turbine at the end of its use? How much does it cost to decommission an industrial wind turbine?

Does Washington County have an adequate road agreement for the destruction that will occur when industrial wind turbines are built?

How do you want your tax dollars spent? Hog buildings are fully funded by farmers, and assessed at full tax value, there is no “special valuation” for them. Compare this to industrial wind turbines built for the Production Tax Credits.

If you have an easement in hand, have you read the fine print? Why there is a hush clause, why do you give up your right to trial by jury, how long does the lease run with your land, who gives you permission to build, who is going to fix your broken tile, what if you aren’t satisfied with reparations, is there a guarantee you will get a wind turbine? Why don’t you hear about negative experiences?

Who do you want to control your assets? Farmers who construct a livestock building own the building, it is their asset, and control of it is retained by the farmer. Wind energy easements are assets held by companies that use them as collateral for future projects whether they are currently using the easement or not.

Washington County, be proactive in writing your wind ordinance, decommissioning agreement, and road use agreement. Other Iowa counties have not and are paying the price.

Rural people need safety, respect, and true economic development.

— Kim Brenneman, Parnell