Clean energy

Jeff Andrews puts aluminum cans through a baler to compress it for recycling purposes inside the Pellet Plant on Sept. 18.

Nodaway county has approved a 23,000 acre wind farm which will begin construction in 2019.

This decision came after the Nodaway County Enhanced Enterprise Zone (EEZ) committee approved the tax adjustment application from Tenaska Clear Creek Wind. The turbines will be north of Gray’s Truck Stop, continuing to the Iowa border and west of Pickering, Missouri.

According to Monte Ten Kley, Director of Strategic Development & Acquisitions at Tenaska, the project began in 2008 but Tenaska was not involved until the summer of 2016 and has recently started to take off.

“Tenaska is developing a 200 to 300-megawatt wind project near Maryville in Nodaway County,” Ten Kley said. “Since we first started talking to landowners in April, we have signed agreements for the majority of the acres needed to construct the project, and we are driving toward completion of our leasing efforts.”

The Tenaska wind farm will boost the local economy, according to Ten Kley. The total estimated construction will cost between $200 million to $300 million but will also increase tax revenue to the local government.

According to a study by Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, a total of 55,521 people are now working in energy storage and smart grid jobs.

The study found job growth is occurring more than three times faster than Missouri’s overall job growth in sectors including renewable energy generation, advanced transportation and clean fuels.

Tenaska’s wind farm will boost Maryville’s job market as it will allow for the creation of more than 200 jobs at peak construction and up to 15 full-time jobs during operation as well as providing opportunities for local businesses to provide goods and services for the project.

Ten Kley said the wind farm will not only boost Maryville’s economy and job market, but will also help surrounding farms flourish.

“Wind projects optimize land use, with only a small portion of the overall land used for the siting of wind turbines and access roads. The remainder can continue to be used in its current state, such as for farming or grazing. This is another ‘cash crop’ for landowners participating in the project, thereby helping to stabilize farm incomes.”

Northwest junior Nathaniel Cochran believes clean energy is important for the community.

“Green energy is the future,” Cochran said. “It will create more jobs and help the economy.”

Senior Devin Vinzant believes the project is a great idea and will be beneficial for Maryville.

“It’s a good idea,” Vinzant said. “The biggest complaint people have is that they’re an eyesore and that's stupid because they are there for a good reason.”

Yet, according to Ten Kley, Tenaska wants to be an integral part of the Maryville community instead of simply helping the economy.

“Additionally, Tenaska is known for being a good business neighbor in the communities where its plants operate,” Ten Kley said. “Those facilities have a long-standing record of support for broad-based community programs, including food pantries, local Scout troops and employees donate thousands of hours of time annually to community projects, from serving on school boards to tutoring students and coaching athletics.”

According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) as of 2016, Missouri had 659 megawatts of wind generating capacity online, another 300 megawatts being built and substantial additional wind energy potential, primarily in the state's northwest region.

According to Ten Kley Missouri and the Midwest have some of the best areas for wind farms.

“The Midwest has some of the best wind resources in the nation and recent advances in turbine technology have continued to increase the feasibility and cost competitiveness of wind projects in Missouri,” Ten Kley said. “These changes, along with the notable wind resource in Nodaway County, has made the area ideal for locating a wind-powered electric generation project like the project being developed by Tenaska.”

However, this is not the first use of sustainable energy in Maryville. The Maryville school district has solar panels on all of its buildings. Northwest uses what is known as Alternative Fuels. According to Northwest’s website, the University began using alternative fuels in 1982 saving approximately $12.5 million from the use of alternative fuel sources as compared to purchasing natural gas and oil.

Tenaska is making headway on the project and hopes to continue to grow its relationship with the community while helping to make Maryville an even more sustainable community.

“We have been making steady progress on the project,” Ten Kley said. “Just as importantly, we continue to have positive discussions with local landowners and community leaders. We appreciate their ongoing support. Our team has met a lot of great people here in Nodaway County, and we look forward to continuing those relationships for many years to come.”

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