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Bloomfield wants wind turbine by the end of the year

This turbine would be 300 feet to the hub with 160-foot blades, which is slightly larger than the one installed in New London in 2011/KTVO

The City of Bloomfield could be home to a 2,500 kilowatt wind turbine by the end of the year.

KTVO spoke with those behind the idea to find out what they're doing now to make it happen.

This turbine would be 300 feet to the hub with 160-foot blades, which is slightly larger than the one installed in New London in 2011.

"It'd be a huge wind turbine and it would probably be some place south and east of the town and then there would be an underground powerline that would connect the wind turbine to the city's electric system," said Wind Utility Consulting Principal Tom Wind.

Wind spent nearly two years exploring the possibility of placing a wind turbine in Bloomfield.

He says the idea doesn't make economic sense for every community. Bloomfield, however, happens to be a good fit.

"It's really difficult to make the economics work, but I think the situation in Bloomfield is such, with the contracts that they have, that it is one of the better cases where wind power and solar power can be economic," Wind said.

Perfect timing for a city that aims to become energy independent by 2030.

"I think one thing that's exciting about this project is that you do not see many large wind turbines in southern Iowa because it is simply not as windy down here as it is in central Iowa, or northern Iowa where you see so many wind turbines, so to have a large wind turbine dedicated to a community in southern Iowa, I think is breaking ground," Wind said.

As for solar energy, the city is in the process of expanding that resource, too.

Two Bloomfield business have already installed solar panels. The city has plans to install more near the fairgrounds.

"We'll be putting in a 1.8 megawatt solar array, which would produce about 10 percent of the city's energy," Ball said.

Adding a wind turbine to the mix would cost over $3.5 million. It would have to be a team effort and right now, the city is working on selling the idea to its community members.

"There's been at least a handful of people who have come forward and said they're interested in contributing to this and buying into it," Ball said.

An investment up front, some maintenance costs and that's pretty much it. Wind said the plan completely eliminates the cost of fuel.

"Based on the estimates that we've looked at, there should be some long-term savings with this wind turbine,” Wind said. “There's always a little bit of uncertainty because you don't know how much the coal, the oil or natural gas would've cost had you just continued on using that."

The goal is to get the machine up and running by the end of the year.

"There's some extra tax credits that would make it more beneficial so that would be the goal," Wind said.

"I think it's still a long shot for there to be a wind turbine outside the City of Bloomfield within the next few months, but I think it's possible," Ball said.


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