Supervisors Give First Step Approval For Wind Farm

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(Le Mars) — On Tuesday, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors took a step forward to allow a wind farm to be established in three townships of eastern Plymouth County. By a vote of 3 to 2, the county governing board approved action to grant Invenergy, the company, proposing to construct the
wind turbines. County Supervisor chairman Don Kass explains the supervisor’s actions with regards to the proposed wind farm and potential tax assessment breaks.

Kass was one of the negative votes cast, but he says he is not necessarily against the construction of a wind farm in Plymouth County.

The plan would call for between 50 and 80 wind turbines to be located in eastern Plymouth County. During the public hearing, one landowner and farmer informed he is in favor of the wind turbine project, and he told the county supervisors that many other farmers and landowners favor having the giant wind turbines simply because of the financial benefits. The landowner
says with the current agricultural economy situation with low commodity prices, and trade tariffs that block the farmer from exporting products to other nations, such as China, many are turning to the wind industry as a means to earn some money in order to break even, or perhaps even make money
from their farms.  Many questions dealt with the condition of the county infrastructure, mainly roads and bridges leading to the proposed wind farm, and whether the county roads would be able to support the weight of the turbines being moved into the county. Kass says he has seen other counties where the roads were in better condition following the construction of the wind turbines.

Other questions asked of the supervisors were relating to what happens to the wind turbines if the company should go bankrupt, or no longer wanting to obtain energy from the wind turbines.

Kass says he is also concerned about the federal subsidy for wind turbines is scheduled to expire in 2020. He wonders if the subsidy will be re-introduced, or if the industry will be able to perform on its own without the assistance from the government.

The supervisors will again vote on the project in two weeks during their next board meeting.