Farmers Reap a Windfall
The world’s largest single wind power project was dedicated in Iowa over the weekend. Federal energy officials hope the Great Plains region, which some have called “the Saudi Arabia of wind power,” can surge past California as the leading area for wind turbine power. Seven of the 10 states ranked highest for potential growth in wind energy are in the Midwest, and the region’s farmers have generally been supportive of wind power projects because they can earn money by leasing their land for turbines. Electricity generated by wind power costs about 4 to 5 cents per kilowatt hour. With congressional backing for tax credits and research and development, that cost could be reduced to 2.5 cents by 2002, approximately the cost of power from natural gas plants.