Iowa leads the US in the percentage of wind power on the grid. The local utility companies pay area farmers royalties of $3,000–5,000 per year so huge wind turbines can share their vast farmland acreage and feed the power to the grid. The arrangement has been so successful that 15% of Iowa’s power now comes from wind.
But one small neighborhood family farm that supplies turkeys to Sara Lee has jumped in as well. Russ and Beth Winterhof had been interested in wind power for decades. In the last year or so, Beth began seriously researching midsized generators that could handle the amount of energy that they needed in the turkey buildings and the farm in general.
Beth discovered Bay Area company Halus Power that was located, what a coincidence – right where they planned to visit for their son Nathan’s graduation from Lutheran Seminary in Berkeley, California.
So Beth and Russ signed up for two 100KW turbines from Halus Power and they even went to meet Halus CEO Louis Rigaud when they were in the Bay Area.
Halus Power has a unique business model among Bay Area green energy startups.
They buy secondhand Vestas generators from Denmark and Germany that have been ditched in favor of the next size up and then remanufacture them in the US to meet the needs of rural energy users and small farms.
So Russ and Beth get second-hand wind power from first world nations that signed Cap and Trade legislation that funded their switch from fossil power to renewable energy. The Winterhof’s own ancestors were from Germany and Denmark. That’s nice. So, sure. And, recycling is green. But hand-me-downs… from Europe? Aside from the carbon miles, there’s the embarrassment.
The good news is that the US is catching up. As of 2009 100 US companies have sprung up to make parts for wind turbines including 30 coming online this year; making towers, composite blades, bearings and gears. Rustbelt companies in traditional manufacturing states are retooling to enter the wind industry.
If only every state was as successful as Iowa in tapping into their renewable energy potential. Or if we could pass legislation to move the nation to renewable energy.
But there is so much organized scaremongering here, that we will probably never match Europe. Well, thanks EU, for the hand-me-downs.
- Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Will Pay For Itself, CBO Finds
- 76% of Cap and Trade Bill Allowances Benefit People Not Polluters
Image: Flikr User frogdog*
Source: Iowa Chronicle Times
Don't want to miss a cleantech story? Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.