NW Iowa energy project 'first of its kind' - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

NW Iowa energy project 'first of its kind'

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SUPERIOR, Iowa (KTIV) -- You've probably heard about renewable energy and alternative energy powering America, like ethanol, or wind energy. But, you probably haven't heard of a wind farm powering an area ethanol plant.

That's because Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative of Northwest Iowa, is the first to provide that opportunity.

Near Superior, Iowa, seven wind turbines are creating power from thin air. Officials with Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative dedicated the new turbines today. The co-operative also dedicated another wind farm about forty miles away in Lakota, Iowa.

"They're twenty one and a half mega watts and we got them up in a compressed time table of 18-months," said Terry Bruns of Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative.

That's enough power to supply 4,000 homes annually, but the power won't go to homes first. Instead the two cooperative owned wind farms are the first in the nation to generate wind energy to serve another renewable energy source.

It's unique because those wind turbines behind me will generate power for the area ethanol plants.

"What you have is a wind farm plugging into an ethanol plant, which is another renewable source. So it's a win situation," said Brad Lystra of Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative.

If the ethanol plants are offline, the electricity will serve the area grid, including local homes and businesses. Those with the cooperative say the wind farm will benefit the locals while helping to lead the nation in alternative energy.

Bruns says, "It's huge from a property tax standpoint as well as the economic vitality."

"So really the construction and manufacturing positions opening up because of wind opportunities are really quite impressive," said Lystra.

That's because when you see a turbine like this it takes others to transport it to the location and maintain it so it keeps working properly.

In 2007, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative was awarded $43 million in Clean Renewable Energy Bonds to finance the development of the wind energy projects within the Iowa Lakes' electric service territory.

Online Reporter: Adam Uhernik

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