“That’s something to be very proud of, especially in a rural area like this - that we’re doing our part for the environment,” said Jim Crawford, a natural resource engineer at the University of Missouri Extension in Columbia.
The four turbines which are powering little Rock Port are part of a greater batch of 75 turbines, which installed across three counties, are used to harvest the plentiful wind scouring the landscape. “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.”
Another benefit for the community is the tax that the wind energy developer that built the turbines must pay. Wind Capital Group, based out of St. Louis, has to pay more than $1.1 million a year in country real estate taxes. “This is a unique situation because in rural areas it is quite uncommon to have this increase in taxation revenues,” said Jerry Baker, and MU Extension community development specialist.
An additional bonus is that landowners can lease part of their property to wind turbines, reaping further profits from the renewable energy source. Add on top of that the savings to rural electric companies, and at least 20 years worth of electric service (the turbines lifespan), and all up, Rock Port Missouri has hit gold – so to speak.