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Clean Power Atchison County, Missouri has just dedicated a 146 megawatt wind farm that will coexist with corn and soy crops

Published on June 20th, 2010 | by Tina Casey

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New 146 Megawatt Wind Farm in Missouri Reveals the Future Beyond Fossil Fuels



Atchison County, Missouri has just dedicated a 146 megawatt wind farm that will coexist with corn and soy cropsAtchison County, Missouri has just dedicated the new Farmers City Wind Power Project, consisting of 73 turbines that produce 146 megawatts of clean power, enough for 33,000 homes.  In stark contrast to the destruction caused by fossil fuel harvesting, the massive renewable energy project will coexist with farmland, which will continue to yield corn and soybeans.

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Between the poverty and health impacts of mountaintop coal mining in Appalachia and the devastating effect of BP’s oil spill on businesses on the Gulf Coast, large numbers of Americans have sacrificed their well being to the risks involved in digging fossil fuels out of the earth.  The Atchison wind project shows that large scale energy projects don’t have to be the enemy of the local economy, environment, and public health.

Wind Power Brings Local Economic Benefits

The wind farm was constructed by Iberdrola Renewables, and it occupies about 14,000 acres leased from 44 different landowners.  However, the actual footprint of the project only takes up about 1% of that land.  That’s a win-win for the landowners, who can continue farming while also getting income from the leases.  Like conventional fossil fuel harvesting, the wind farm also pays taxes that support local roads and schools.   Atchison County Commissioner Marlin Logan noted in a recent press release that the wind project has already provided an economic boost to the county, as well as a boost for civic pride in being the host of locally produced energy.

The Last Gasp of Fossil Fuels

Fossil fuels are going out with a bang.  The Gulf oil spill resulted from an explosion, the aforementioned mountaintop mining has involved literally blowing up hundreds of entire mountains in one of America’s richest ecosystems, and the hazards of natural gas drilling were recently showcased by explosions in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  Aside from that kind of drama, there are more insidious impacts, for example in the water contamination caused by shooting chemical brine into the earth to bring up natural gas, undermining from coal operations that damages surface structures, and underground coal fires most notably one in Pennsylvania that has laid waste to the entire town of Centralia.  Until recently there wasn’t much of an alternative but now that places like Atchison County are showing the way, it looks like the energy sources of the future will be far more compatible with local communities than the ones we’re practically at war with today.

Image: Corn by mattdente on flickr.com.

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About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



  • http://electrictrimmers.net/ Gene Marchiori

    That’s a great suggestion. I continually find something useful on your site!

  • Roger L

    Tina;

    As one in Wind, I welcome more wind farms as its good for business. But (yes a but), the current percentage of wind power is somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5 % of the total power generation in the USA. To even increase that to 6% (which is a goal of the industry) and beyond literally means hundreds of thousands of wind turbines per year something not currently feasible. One commenter hinting at 20 years or so and that’s probably more reasonable. One problem, not talked about, wind power as currently configured cannot control voltage and frequency like conventional power sources, this has to be overcome to transition into a true renewable majority power grid.

  • justmeint

    For over 100 years, advanced concepts in energy generation have either been ignored or actively suppressed due to the power of fossil-fuel based economic and industrial interests.

    Imagine a world where every home and village has its own clean source of electrical energy, free from the cost of fossil fuels, nuclear power or a centralized electric grid.

    Imagine every means of transportation running off of clean power plants, using no source of fuel and creating no pollution.

    Imagine the developing world blossoming with these new technologies and the equatorial rain forests protected from slash and burn subsistence farming and logging.

    This is NOT fantasy – they have the technology now – so why have they kept it from us?

    http://just-me-in-t.blogspot.com/

  • Oia

    Huh, only in this moment I realised we might actually be gradually moving away from them.. With the EVs coming, coal plants being decommisioned.. We just need a hell a lot more renewable energy projects. But give it a decade or two and we’ll be on our way. Awesome.

    My only worry here is that all our new equipment, wind turbines, solar panels, EVs are manufactured offshore. But that’s just me.

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