A leading supplier of wind turbines for utility-scale wind energy projects, GE (NYSE: GE) is announcing eight of its wind turbines will power a 12.6-megawatt (MW) community wind initiative in rural southwestern Iowa. The turbines were purchased by 180 community members who each bought shares in the units.
Building off the success of two GE 1.5-MW turbines installed in the community, the wind initiative group is purchasing six 1.6-82.5 wind turbines. Combined, the eight units will generate electricity for the towns of Greenfield and Fontanelle as well as other surrounding communities in the region:
- The Cumberland Rose Wind Energy project, located north of Orient, will feature one 1.6-82.5 turbine, representing an expansion of Bulldog Wind’s previously installed 1.5-MW unit.
- The Meadow Ridge Wind Energy project, located north of Greenfield, will be powered by one 1.6-82.5 unit, an expansion of Wolverine Wind’s existing 1.5-MW wind turbine.
- The Wiota Wind Energy project in Wiota will feature one 1.6-82.5 turbine.
- Forward Fontanelle Power in Fontanelle will use one 1.6-82.5 unit.
- The Greenfield Wind Power and Sky Volt projects, both located in Greenfield, will each use a single 1.6-82.5 turbine.
Three of Farmers Electric Cooperative’s 11 substations, the City of Fontanelle and the City of Greenfield will purchase power from the projects. All remaining power generated will be purchased by Central Iowa Power Cooperative (CIPCO), the regional power distributor, which will provide this power to other nearby communities.
“When we developed our business model, it was critical that we select the right project partner and technology supplier to help us implement our project for the benefit of all project investors, as well as the communities where we live,” said Randy Caviness, president of Green Energy Farmers.
The state of Iowa offers a 10-year tax credit for small wind power projects that generate less than 2.5 MW. Local counties where the projects are being built offer property tax incentives for the first seven years.
Each turbine provides benefits from tax credits, land lease royalty payments, property taxes and dividends totaling $1.08 million annually over a period of 10 years. All of the financial benefits, in addition to the shareholders’ annual dividends, go back to the community, underscoring one of the critical advantages of the projects for the area.
GE also will provide maintenance support for the turbines under 10-year customer service agreements to ensure the long-term availability of the turbines.
“10 percent of U.S. states generate more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind, with Iowa as one of the leaders at 19 percent,” said Vic Abate, vice president of renewable energy for GE. “The community wind energy initiative in Iowa represents an important model for other towns and communities to learn from.”
Iowa is the country’s second largest producer of wind energy with 4,495 MW of installed generating capacity, according to the Iowa Wind Energy Association. Iowa also is the nation’s leading employer of wind energy jobs. The state has nine international manufacturing companies supporting the wind industry and 200 other companies in the supply chain.