Quick update on my story about Rock Port (yes, two words!), Missouri, the first 100% wind-powered town in America: I contacted Dave Akins, Rock Port's city administrator and utilities superintendent. Akins explained that the turbines aren't owned by the city. They are owned by John Deere's wind power division and managed by Missouri's Wind Capital Group. Akins says the Missouri Public Utility Alliance contracts for the power from the turbines at $0.055 per kWh and gets $0.02 back in the form of a federal subsidy. Akins says the energy cost for Rock Port did not change; plus, the city saves money (about $50K a year, by his count) in wheeling charges.
It still takes that federal subsidy to keep the cost down, but Rock Port is still coming out a little ahead on the budget book. Plus, the wind turbines are producing a P.R. boost for the community that no banners or slogans or ads can match. The City of Madison and our growing John Deere dealership should talk to John Deere Wind about plunking a big wind turbine right on top of our Madison waterfall sign as part of a "Welcome to Madison" wind farm all along Highway 34. That kind of investment would speak volumes about our progressive community.
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