GRINNELL, IA (Jan. 8, 2020) – Wind turbines have now become a familiar sight in Iowa. Last year Poweshiek County became the home of the English Farms Wind Farm, Alliant Energy’s newest wind farm.
Located between Montezuma and Deep River, the new wind farm has 69 wind turbines that will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 Iowa homes annually. This is according to Matt Hansen, manager of customer relations at Alliant Energy, who spoke at the Grinnell Rotary Club meeting on Tues., Jan. 7.
Hansen emphasized “Iowa homes,” to correct any misconception that electricity generated by wind turbines in Iowa goes out of state. “It stays in the state,” he said.
When asked if these turbines pose any environmental danger to birds, Hansen said that, “it is a concern but is really not a problem” as they have not observed any increase in bird fatalities in the area. If it does occur, they document every incident. Likewise, they have not observed any change in bird migration patterns because of the presence of wind turbines.
To date, Alliant Energy has four wind farms serving Iowa customers, with three more planned in 2020.
Hansen also spoke about the installation of a new battery storage facility in Wellman, Iowa, Alliant’s first large scale battery storage capability in the state. It will store 2.7 megawatts hours enough to power 650 homes for four hours.
He explained that “Wellman has a lot of solar panels but when it gets cloudy, the grid has to kick in right away, which is hard on equipment.” A battery storage facility nearby can store power generated by solar panels that can be used when needed. He said that “battery technology is getting better.”
Hansen anticipates that Alliant will be able to provide solar energy to Grinnell soon.
Alliant also has recently combined its Grinnell and Newton operations in one building on Pinder Ave. They are also increasingly going digital which maximizes the efficiency of technicians while working on the road.
The Grinnell Rotary Club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. at West Side Dining on 6th Ave., Grinnell.