The boundaries are flexible and fluid, according to MidAmerican Reps. The northern boundary is around highway 6, the southern is about Gaston, Avenue in Mills County. The western boundary is around 275th Street east of the Loess Hills, and the eastern boundary is the Nishnobotna River.
MidAmerican sent a letter to landowners in the area from highway six and one quarter mile south of Chestnut Road, between 275th to 300th streets. This area has a population density that would not allow for ideal placement of industrial wind turbines.
MidAmerican Energy has released conflicting statements. Their largest number stated was 250 wind turbines, and the low end was 100. They stated they would proceed with a minimum of 50.
From ground to tip of the rotor, the "newest technology" as they call it, is around 600' tall, some public images have shown them to range between 580-625'. MidAmerican does not like to use the ground to tip measurement, but just the structure to rotor measurement to make them seem less imposing.
A 2 MW turbine needs between 40 and 70 acres of land to avoid interference from other turbines. The turbines extract energy from the wind and create an area of turbulence in the immediate area. The turbines need lots of space or they'll suffer a drop in performance.
First, eminent domain for Wind Energy Centers does not exist in Iowa. If you do not sign up, you could be stopping this project in its tracks. If you are considering this because you think your neighbor is signed up, go talk to your neighbor. If MAE reps tell you someone has moved forward, you should speak to that person directly. They have used this trick in the past to get easement agreements and land rights from landowners. This is a bait and switch maneuver that allows them to get you to sign something you would not have signed - then they will go to the neighbor you thought was on board and get them to sign now that you are under contract.
Call the police and have them charged with trespassing and harassment. Do not allow them to harass you into signing a contract, if they must do this, they know they can not move forward with out you. You are instrumental in stopping this project.
The MAE presentation quoted yearly property tax figures about $34 Million dollars per year. This is not the amount paid to our local government every year, this is the amount they pay for all of their wind energy towers, combined. The number that would be paid locally would not exceed 2.1 million dollars per year, at the maximum taxed value in the 7th year. This tax is also split between Mills and Pottawattamie Counties depending on the number of towers placed in each county.
MAE receives a tax break for installing turbines. Where most business owners have a tax rate that is applied to 100% of the value of their property, MAE has a tax break where the tax rate is only applied to a 30% value on the turbine - so if the turbine is worth 1 million each, the maximum value that could be taxed on is $300,000.
However, the tax break is set up for MAE to pay 0% the first year. The taxable percentage will go up each year for seven years, reaching the 30% maximum the 7th year. When they "re-power" the equipment around the 8-10 year mark (new blades, larger turbines, and new technology), the tax value goes back to 0% and works it way back up to 30% over 7 years. So your municipalities will not see the value promised year over year.
As of July 20th, MAE has registered 6 leases with the recorders office totaling 950 acres across Mills and Pottawattamie Counties. This is all public information that you may access in person or online. Make sure you are checking if you are unsure whether your neighbors have signed up. But most importantly, have a polite conversation and allow them to express their thoughts. Most people want to be a good neighbor to others.
Treynor, Iowa, just one of our communities finding balance between growth and tradition, fighting to preserve their way of life and pushing back against industrial encroachment in rural communities. Farmers feed America and should not have to fight private utility companies who see their land as nothing more than dollars signs and tax credits for corporations.
•Shared with permission.