The Benefits of Wind Power Farms
With wind-power farms, harnessing the wind empowers farmers to hedge volatile energy costs.
The Van Wall Group, in Perry, Iowa, Energy.VanWall.com, not only uses wind power at its various locations around the state, but the company is also a sales distributor for wind turbines such as this Endurance 50kW E-3120 wind turbine.
courtesy Endurance Wind Power, www.EnduranceWindPower.com
Across the United States and Canada, farmers are looking to advanced wind turbines that offer the best features of large megawatt units. They also are using windmills to eliminate the need for energy altogether when replacing the electric pond aeration systems used to support healthy fish and livestock. The result is wind-power farms, which are powering up farm profits and minimizing input costs.
“Whether for irrigation systems and grain dryers or equipment to raise hogs, cattle or turkeys, farmers use a lot of electricity,” says Don Van Houweling, general manager of The Van Wall Group, the Midwest’s largest John Deere dealer. “That’s why farmers are turning to wind energy: to achieve good return on investment, hedge against volatile energy costs, and ensure the future of farm and country. By harnessing a naturally renewable resource, we can limit rising input costs and our dependence on polluting, foreign fossil fuels.”
Van Houweling estimates an annual 12 percent to 15 percent return of income (ROI) for farmers who choose wind turbine technology and take advantage of current federal, state or local renewable energy incentives. Van Houweling’s dealerships also are using wind turbines.
At his Perry, Iowa, dealership, for instance, Van Houweling has installed an S-Series wind turbine by Endurance Wind Power capable of producing up to 20,000 kWh per year and a larger E-Series unit capable of producing more than 200,000 KWh per year. Combined, these turbines provide nearly 85 percent of the power consumed at this large facility.
Back to wind
Farms and windmills have a long history together, and today’s growing interest in renewable wind power is just the latest chapter.
“The first heyday of wind power in America lasted from 1870 to 1930, when thousands of farmers used the wind to pump water and generate power. The second heyday is just beginning,” states the website of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the leading science-based nonprofit organization working toward a healthy environment and a safer world.
According to the UCS, the reasons for wind power’s rebirth are many. Some of the best wind resources are on farmland; electric wind generators are more efficient and reliable than old water-pumping, fan-bladed windmills. The relative cost/convenience advantages of
renewable wind power over diesel generators and the extending power lines are great improvements. Other reasons are technology improvements, cost reductions, government incentives, and the ability “to plant crops and graze livestock right up to the base of the turbines.”
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