Clay County, IA wind energy plan draws ire of some residents
SPENCER, Iowa (KTIV) -
A $2 billion project designed to transfer wind energy from northwest Iowa into Illinois is being met with some resistance.
During a forum in Spencer Tuesday afternoon, Clean Line Energy Partners and the Iowa Utilities Board got an earful from concerned landowners.
More than 200 people packed into the Clay County Events Center to learn more about the proposed Rock Island Clean Line project, a 500 mile overhead direct current transmission line that will deliver 3,500 megawatts of wind power from northwest Iowa into Illinois.
"There are a lot of strong supporters of the project. People are very excited about the wind energy potential," said Hans Detweiler, Director of Development for Clean Line Energy.
The ambitious project boasts $7 billion in new wind farm investments, more than 5,000 construction jobs and millions per year in property tax payments among other benefits all laid out before a skeptical audience.
"It's exactly what I expected to hear. You hear none of the negatives about thing," said Jerry Crew, a Clay County land owner.
Crew is a member of the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance, a grassroots organization fighting the project. Property access, compensation and eminent domain are among the opponent's chief concerns.
"We hope that as we have negotiations with landowners and they hear from us more and they hear the answers to their questions that we'll be able to reach an amicable solution," said Detweiler.
Clean Line Energy Partners would like to begin construction in two years then begin delivering electricity in 2017. But before it can, it has more public forums like Tuesday's event. The company also needs to secure right-of-way access to private property and regulatory approval.