Our opinion: Partnerships can continue growth

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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Last week’s news that Xcel Energy plans to revamp its wind towers near Grand Meadow is welcome news for Mower County, news made better as the company renews its effort to work with landowners.

There is no indication that the company won’t continue working with residents who have been living with, and in some cases who have benefitted from having, a tower on their land. But it’s worth the reminder that these landowners are always an important part of this process.

Over the years, Xcel has gone out of its way to walk in step with landowners concerned to ensure the best possible partnership available. Roads are well maintained, a requirement of the county, and wind towers take up as little of the landscape as necessary in order that farmers can still farm as much available land as possible.

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This partnership, as well as the partnership of other companies, have allowed for a windfall of revenue for the county. For example, despite the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mower County was able to keep the levy rise to just .5 percent. That was largely because of wind tower revenue that allowed the county to shave around 10 percent off of the levy.

The wind tower industry has brought jobs to the area and been part of educational programming at Riverland Community College, which has provided an inlet to the wind tower industry.

Wind towers are an important and necessary part of clean and renewable energy as companies work toward long term goals of zero carbon emissions.

But again, none of this is possible without the landowners and their support. Clearly, this is a bit of a no-brainer, but windtower companies have worked hard to understand that without landowners, there are no wind towers.

Understandably, there are those who do not like the windtower for a variety of reasons: they are detrimental to the natural environment, are a danger to birds or simply because they do not believe in wind power and would rather continue with fossils fuels.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with these viewpoints, it’s important to understand that these concerns are recognized and addressed as well.

Dialog is how we make the process work and it’s something wind companies have used to continue being on the same page as landowners and the counties in which they stand.

We look forward to what the continued life of this farm will bring and with it the hope of continuing to benefit the county we call home.