RedRock Wind Energy project on track
“We are still leasing land,” Jeff Hammond of Tradewind Energy, project manager for RedRock Wind Energy, said.
Hammond said Tradewind Energy is looking into using turbines manufactured by Vestas. These turbines will on average generate two megawatts of power and sit just shy of 500 feet when a blade is extended upward.
The components for the turbines will all be produced in the United States. Hammond said Tradewind Energy plans to use as many parts made in Iowa as possible.
“The ability to produce things locally instead of shipping parts over from overseas has allowed the cost of wind to go down significantly,” Hammond said. “The cost of wind has dropped by two-thirds in the past five years. Wind is now more competitive than coal.”
Hammond responded to objections raised by a Palo Alto County group, Coalition for Rural Property Rights. Started by a woman in Ayrshire, the group claims in part that land holding turbines, once the turbines are decommissioned, will not recover for many years.
“First of all, no one is forced to lease their land to us,” Hammond said.
Hammond added, “RedRock is a landowner-initiated project and we are only working with landowners who voluntarily want to participate.”
Hammond said the wind company’s obligation to return the land to its original condition is included in the contracts between RedRock and the land owners.
“The turbines will run for 40 years (from the 2019 anticipated spin date) and who knows what technology will be available in 40 years, but we plan to run wind energy here for the foreseeable future,” Hammond said.
According to RedRock’s Spring newsletter, Tradewind is working with 13 county, state and federal agencies to comply with the county ordinances and any regulations set forth to protect all the county residents. The project is expected to have no material impact on threatened or endangered species or birds or animals based on extensive third-party studies.
Wind energy, according to Hammond, provides an important hedge against anticipated caps or taxes on carbon and other pollutants.