Renewable Energy Alternatives: Harnessing Wind

Jim Jensen, Farm Management Field Specialist; Tom Miller, Swine Field Specialist; Greg Brenneman, Ag Engineering Field Specialist; Southeast Area

Problem Statement:

Developing alternative energy sources is a high priority of the present administration in Washington as well as being recognized and pursued by environmental groups, sustainability organizations, and the economic realities being faced by homeowners and businesses.  Finding alternatives to using fossil fuels, especially those imported fuels, is a high priority for many individuals.  These alternative fuels need to be dependable, clean, and affordable.  There has been increased interest in using the wind to generate energy for individual households and businesses as well as public generation of electricity for utility companies in southeast Iowa.  By better understanding the wind resource in southeast Iowans can make better decisions regarding the use of wind energy in their lives and on their property.

Programmatic Response:

ISU Extension worked with co-sponsors to develop a one day conference that featured speakers and exhibits related to different phases of wind energy.  There were two tracks of information, one for individual interested in their own wind turbine and one for large wind farms.  Speakers included representatives from public utilities and RECs, Iowa Energy Center, USDA, Iowa Utilities Board, the wind industry, ISU, and farmers with wind turbines.

Outcome Statement:  

The one day event attracted 230 participants from 46 counties and 3 states along with eight commercial exhibitors.  Post meeting evaluations indicated that 86% had a better understanding of wind energy and regulations after attending the meeting and 93% indicated that they were able to determine if their situation was appropriate for wind energy.  Ninety seven percent indicated that they would recommend the program to a friend.  Comments on the evaluation instrument indicated that a similar conference on solar energy was needed.  People considering long term leases for wind towers on their property called the meeting “A must for anyone near a potential wind farm” and indicated that the information presented at the meeting would not only cost them over a thousand dollars to obtain but should save them 20 times that amount.


160 - Natural Resources and Stewardship

Page last updated: April 14, 2009
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