July 16, 2008 Rock Port Missouri, with a population of just over 1,300 residents, has announced that it is the first 100% wind powered community in the United States. Four wind turbines supply all the electricity for the small town.
Rock Port’s 100% wind power status is due to four wind turbines located on agricultural lands within the city limits of Rock Port (Atchison County). The city of Rock Port uses approximately 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. It is predicted that these four turbines will produce 16 million kilowatt hours each year.
Excess wind generated electricity not used by Rock Port homes and businesses is expected to be move onto the transmission lines to be purchased by the Missouri Joint Municipal Utilities for use in other areas.
University of Missouri Extension specialists say that there are excellent opportunities for sustainable wind power in northwest Missouri.
There are currently 24 wind turbines in Atchison County, 24 in Nodaway County and 27 in Gentry County. MU Extension specialists say the wind farms will bring in more than $1.1 million annually in county real estate taxes, to be paid by Wind Capital Group, a wind energy developer based in St. Louis.
"This is a unique situation because in rural areas it is quite uncommon to have this increase in taxation revenues," said Jerry Baker, MU Extension community development specialist.
The alternative-energy source also benefits landowners, who can make anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 leasing part of their property for wind turbines.
Other wind energy companies are looking at possible sites in northwest Missouri, Baker said.
A map published by the U.S. Department of Energy indicates that northwest Missouri has the state's highest concentration of wind resources and contains a number of locations potentially suitable for utility-scale wind development.
"We're farming the wind, which is something that we have up here," Crawford said. "The payback on a per-acre basis is generally quite good when compared to a lot of other crops, and it's as simple as getting a cup of coffee and watching the blades spin."
"It's a savings for the community in general, savings for the rural electric companies, and it does provide electricity service over at least a 20-year time period, which is the anticipated life of these turbines," Baker said.
Baker said the wind turbines attract visitors from all over, adding tourism revenue to the list of benefits.
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