With the legislative session underway, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation hopes state lawmakers will approve regulations of large-scale wind and solar farms being built statewide.
Wind and solar energy projects are quickly taking root in the Hawkeye State, stoking fears among members of the state’s largest agricultural group that they could lose valuable farmland.
According to the IFBF, it supports statewide “siting and setback rules for wind and solar farms.” Standing in the farm organization’s way are energy companies such as MidAmerican and Alliant Energy. For the past 16 years, MidAmerican has pumped nearly $12 billion into developing wind projects while Alliant intends to plunk down $2.4 billion to construct wind farms in Iowa.
MidAmerican is reportedly open to a statewide policy that does not interfere with future renewable energy growth. Iowa is one of two states in the Midwest that lead in renewable energy generation, with 34 percent of it coming from wind.
Not everyone in Iowa is fan of renewable energy, however. Those who live near existing wind facilities claim that the blades contribute to light and noise pollution, as well as negatively impact their health.
In addition, discarded parts from the state’s upgraded turbines are piling up in landfills. Critics of wind energy argue the discarding of blades is contradictory to the industry’s assertions of being an environmentally friendly source of energy.
According to U.S. Department of Energy, old turbine parts can be recycled, but at the same time, disposing of the blades is problematic.
Aside from wind farms, the IFBF expressed concerns about 20 solar projects that could usurp plenty of acres of farmland.