Economic and Environmental Benefits Accrue at Missouri Wind Farm
More than four years after the Farmers City Wind Farm began harvesting Atchison County’s world-class wind resource in northwestern Missouri, the local economy and environment continue to reap the benefits – as do nearby green power program customers.
Relying on 73 towering Gamesa wind turbines scattered across 14,000 acres of still-productive agricultural land near the town of Tarkio, the project’s 146 MW of generating capacity produce enough clean, locally sourced renewable power to cover the electricity needs of 33,000 average homes in Missouri each year. Farmers City – the second-largest wind farm in the state.
Farmers City has generated millions of dollars in economic benefits since commencing commercial operation in April 2009. This includes an estimated $600,000 to $1,000,000 in annual county tax revenues used to fund essential community needs such as roads, schools and other services. Additionally, the project contributes approximately $365,000 in lease payments a year to 44 Atchison County landowners located within the project’s boundaries, providing a stable source of income to farmers coping with frequently volatile commodity prices. Moreover, since the turbines themselves occupy less than 1 percent of the project’s total acreage, the farmers continue to grow soybeans and corn on the vast majority of the land.
Developed and owned by Iberdrola Renewables, Farmers City was built largely between May 2008 and March 2009, creating about 150 jobs at peak construction and employing an average workforce of 100 over the course of construction. Since coming online, Iberdrola continues to employ a small operation and maintenance crew onsite.
Wind power potential in Missouri
Farmers City is one of several major wind farms clustered in the northwestern corner of Missouri, home of the state’s best wind resources – which are ranked 14th overall in the United States by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). If fully built out, the state’s wind resources theoretically could provide more than nine-times its current electricity demand, according to NREL.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), Missouri’s existing wind farms possess a combined generating capacity of 459 MW and collectively produce enough renewable energy to power approximately 95,000 average homes. This wind power will avoid 10.4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, estimates AWEA (PDF download). Despite uncertainty over federal tax credits for wind energy production that has slowed the sector’s growth in 2013, another 2,250 MW of projects are in the development queue in Missouri.
Based on the trade group’s data, annual property tax payments from Missouri’s wind project owners contribute more than $2.6 million into local economies, while annual land lease payments tally over $1.3 million.
The state’s wind energy industry supports up to 2,000 jobs at approximately a dozen turbine component manufacturers across the state, such as Emerson Electric Co. and Zoltek in St. Louis and Milbank Manufacturing in Kansas City.
Farmers City Wind Farm is leading the way in beginning to tap the state’s vast potential for harnessing its homegrown wind energy resource – and all of the associated environmental and economic benefits.
3Degrees’ Multiple Mix Product is Green-e Energy certified and meets the environmental and consumer protection standards set forth by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions. Learn more at: www.green-e.org.