Wind energy jobs blow in with the breeze, boost business - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Wind energy jobs blow in with the breeze, boost business in Nebraska

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For some Siouxland residents the wind means more than just something to cool them down on a hot summer day.

Wind farms are at the front of the alternative energy movement and they have now become a viable resource of power for northeast Nebraskans.

As construction continues on a wind farm just outside of Elgin the residents could not be more excited for the continued boost for their local economy.

There are already two wind farms outside of Elgin that have shown a positive impact on their community, and with a third on the way there has been a noticeable spike in the local economy.

"Most all of our RV parking spots are full. You see a lot of the company trucks in our community filling up with gas or eating at the restaurant and using the grocery store, so we feel it's been beneficial," said ROSS KNOT, and area banker.

As construction continues, more than just energy will be created. The opportunity for kids to stay in their hometowns and raise families are now possible throughout these communities of Northeast Nebraska

After the construction of the wind farms, jobs are being created for the upkeep and operation. In small towns of a few hundred, 30 to 40 full time jobs is a massive employment boom. City officials say these wind farms have allowed their populations to stabilize and in some cases even grow.

"The wind farms have provided that shot in the arm that, well, agriculture has been good for the last few years but not always the case, it's up and it's down, where this came in and provided solid jobs," said Doug Koch, of the City of Petersburg.

Community leaders say they look forward to the area's potential becoming a reality when the Prairie Breeze Wind Center opens in January.

Nebraska Utilities, NPPD and OPPD have pledged to purchase power from the Wind Farm when it opens next year.

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