The small town of Rock Port is currently the first community in the United States to be powered 100 percent with energy generated by wind turbines. Its 1,400 habitants consume about 13 million kWh of electric energy every year and since April the town has been powered only with electricity provided by the Loess Hills Wind Farm.
"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 of the University of Missouri Extension.
The Loess Hills Wind Farm is equipped with four Suzlon wind turbines, each with a capacity of 1.25 megawatts. Excess energy is sold to the public utility company. According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Energy, the northwest region of Missouri has the greatest concentration of wind resources in the state, as well as several potential locations in which companies could develop utility-scale wind farms.
The Loess Hills Wind Farm (with its four turbines) is part of a larger structure containing some 75 wind turbines that stretch over three of the counties of the state of Missouri.
"We're farming the wind, which is something that we have up here. 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," Crawford added.
Not only that wind turbines produce electric energy without the downside of releasing any kind of waste, but University of Missouri Extension researchers also say that Wind Capital Group will benefit from the county real estate taxes.
"This is a unique situation because in rural areas it is quite uncommon to have this increase in taxation revenues," said community development specialist Jerry Baker of the University of Missouri Extension.
At the same time, the owners of the land the wind turbines are built on receive revenues from the company administrating them, while rural electric companies could significantly cut expenditures while also provide electric energy for at least 20 years, or the expected life of a typical wind turbine.
"Anybody who is currently using Rock Port utilities can expect no increase in rates for the next 15 to 20 years," Crawford said.