Corn Belt Power, power supplier to your local Touchstone Energy Cooperative, will soon have additional wind energy in its generation mix as construction continues on the 2.1-megawatt wind turbines for the Crosswind Energy project in Palo Alto County.
The bottom base sections for all 10 turbines have been installed, and the project awaits arrival of a large crane to hoist the upper sections into place, according to Phil Sundblad, president of Crosswind Energy.
In October, Corn Belt Power announced an agreement with 10 local farmer-owners in Palo Alto County to purchase the output of the group’s 21-megawatt wind energy project.
In December, turbine blades were delivered via oversized-load trucks to the 10 sites. A smaller crane was required to unload the blades. According to Sundblad, the first generation from the units may come as early as mid-January.
The community-based wind project includes 10 Suzlon S88 wind turbines. Each turbine is individually owned by local farmers who formed Crosswind Transmission, LLC, which will own and operate the transmission, substation and distribution facilities to carry electricity from the turbines and interconnect with Corn Belt Power Cooperative’s 69kV transmission line near its Ayrshire Substation.
Corn Belt Power will purchase all of the turbines’ output.
With the addition of this wind energy project, the proportion of Corn Belt Power’s renewable generating resources will increase to nearly 15 percent of its entire generation portfolio. Corn Belt Power also receives wind energy from the Hancock County Wind Energy Center, owned and operated by FPL Energy near Duncan, Iowa, and hydropower from the Western Area Power Administration, which has several dams on the Missouri River.
“As farmer-owners of Crosswind Transmission, we understand the impact of projects like this to our rural communities,” says Phil Sundblad, president, Crosswind Transmission, LLC. “As with locally owned ethanol or biodiesel plants, rural communities reap the economic benefits from projects that stay within our rural neighborhoods; the domino effect is felt among local businesses, schools and governments. Working with electric co-ops like Corn Belt Power and Iowa Lakes Electric fits nicely into our business model of encouraging rural economic development. They have been great partners through this process.”
In Palo Alto and surrounding counties, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Estherville, receives and distributes wholesale power from Corn Belt Power.