Cedar Falls improves ordinance for wind turbines - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls improves ordinance for wind turbines

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) – One eastern Iowa community is hoping to make its future a green one. The City of Cedar Falls wants to regulate the use of wind turbines. The Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval of a new ordinance governing wind energy facilities in the city.

The proposed ordinance would cover large and small-scale projects. City planners say the small projects would likely be in the city limits. The larger ones would most likely be found in the city's industrial park.

Currently the only wind turbine in the Cedar Falls city limits is owned by Mike Miller and is set up in his back yard. City officials believe it won't be the last.

City Planner Marty Ryan says Miller's turbine was approved two years ago and at that time he believed the ordinance regulating wind turbines was out of date.

"We recognized that wind energy is a viable alternative resource and wanted to find a way to encourage that and hopefully provide an opportunity to adopt that alternative energy," said Ryan.

The new ordinance outlines everything from size, to noise, and even safety issues.

"The ordinance really deals primarily with steps involved in submitting an application going to the planning and zoning commission and city council and then what criteria or restriction we might have," said Ryan.

The cost to put up a wind turbine depends on its size it can range anywhere between $6,000 and $22,000.

"When the economics present themselves and make it more affordable for people to make that choice. Should I stay with the traditional energy resource which is convenient and there, versus the investment in the new facility and the time scale required for it's payoff," said Ryan.

Depending on the cost it can take anywhere from six to 15 years to recoup the cost of the investment, but after that all the electricity it produces will be virtually free. Those who support wind turbines say it's a good investment because it also increases property value.

The Cedar Falls City Council is expected to take up the wind turbine ordinance in October.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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