Rod Goeman and I have suggested that Madison and Lake County might do well to build a local wind power system. Winona County, Minnesota, has done it; why can't we?
Cost might be one reason. Mayor Hexom has said municipal wind would cost 20 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to 3.1 cents for juice from WAPA. Sextuple your electric bill? Not an easy sell.
But the mayor's math apparently doesn't hold water in Missouri. Visit Rock Port, in the northwest tip of Missouri. See that big windmill on their webpage? The city has four of them, built in cooperation with John Deere, pumping out up to 125% of the city's power needs.
Yes, John Deere. Can energy get any greener than that?
Now this isn't municipal wind: Wind Capital Group of St. Louis put this project together, and was able to make the Loess Hills project in Rock Port affordable by building it at the same time as its nearby 24-turbine Cow Branch wind farm. But thanks to a little foresight and hustle, the 1300 residents of Rock Port now get much of their electricity from right where they live. Local generation saves them at least $60,000 a year in wheeling fees, the fees the city would pay for electricity lost over transmission lines from more remote sources.
It is perhaps worth noting that Wind Capital Group is run by Tom Carnahan, youngest son of a former governor and a former senator. He quit his surely lucrative law practice in 2005 to get into the wind industry. His mom gave him a Don Quixote statue when he started his wind business, but he has no regrets about tilting at these windmills. He's a Missouri boy through and through, and he is driven by a desire to serve rural Missouri in a way that other developers didn't have the guts and foresight to do.
Who will be the courageous South Dakota investor who will learn from Rock Port, Missouri, and help our own small towns become energy independent? If Rock Port can do it, so can Madison, and Flandreau, and Hartford, and all our neighbors. Someone get on the horn to John Deere, and let's make some power!
p.s.: I'm not the only one who thinks clean/green energy technology may be the next economic boom.
pp.s.: Don't just dream big: dream huge: maybe green energy can bring peace to Israel and Palestine.
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