Early phases of construction began on a new wind farm project Aug. 1 in Nodaway County that will provide jobs and tax revenue, as well as place corporate land lease payments into the pockets of northwest Missouri citizens.
Enel Green Power, North America, started the early process of construction on its 236.5 megawatt White Cloud Wind project, building the foundations, improving road access and drawing up detailed plans for its collection systems.
Throughout the project’s lifespan, institutions in Nodaway County will benefit from an estimated $35 million in tax payments and another $40 million will make its way directly into the pockets of citizens leasing their land to Enel for wind farm use.
Nodaway County South District Commissioner Bob Steins said every citizen has something to look forward to with the wind farm’s arrival.
“School districts will receive 70-80% of the property tax revenue from the wind farm, so that already provides a wide window of people this affects,” Steins said. “After that, we are seeing townships get money for road repairs, and fire districts will also benefit.”
The county commissioners explained since Nodaway County largely operates off sales and gas tax, the $1.4 million a year over 25 years will help fuel the economy in northwest Missouri.
Chris Burns, north district commissioner and local business owner, said he looks forward to seeing the commerce benefits of White Cloud.
“Construction employees transferring and getting hired here in Nodaway County will help accumulate general commerce in the community,” Burns said. “They will be renting or buying properties, buying in local stores and eating at local restaurants. This means a surge in sales tax here for the county.”
A more obvious service provided by White Cloud is the energy it will supply.
Senior Project Manager for White Cloud Georg Becker-Birck said the energy collected by the wind farm could provide customers of the local Associated Electric Cooperative cheaper rates.
“Since our easily renewable energy output is being purchased by AECI, the local population could receive cheaper rates as a result of how great the northwest Missouri area is for wind,” Becker-Birck said. “We are looking for electricity prices to go down and stabilize in this area, and since wind is the cheapest energy in the U.S., we believe we can achieve that.”
According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind energy avoided the production of 201 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2018. Becker-Birck said White Cloud wants to provide that reliable, sustainable energy to Nodaway County residents.
“We want to be a good neighbor to the community,” Becker-Birck said. “We would like to thank the whole community of landowners, interested citizens and local legislators that helped make this happen. We look forward to a safe and successful wind farm project.”
The wind farm is expected to be fully operational by fall of 2020, between July and September. Turbines are set to arrive at the site from late January and early March.