GRAFTON | A community meeting organized by residents concerned with wind turbines in Worth County will be held later this week.
The meeting us 7 p.m. Thursday at Grafton Community Center, 202 Sixth Ave. It will allow Worth County residents to discuss whether wind energy is needed, what regulations are in place and Invenergy's alleged non-transparency with some property owners in the proposed farm, according to a news release.
In February, the Worth County Board of Supervisors expressed support for the project, which would put 58 turbines in the county, generating about $17 million in taxable revenue over the next two decades. In total, the Freeborn Wind Farm is expected to create 200 jobs and power 70,000 homes each year.
Julie Kuntz, a Grafton-area farmer who is a member of Concerned Residents of Worth County, opposes the wind turbines, noting the impact on farmland and the noise they cause for local farmers.
"The sound is a big thing for me … if they are going to be there, we need to at least have some regulations," Kuntz told the Globe Gazette. "I do not want to live in an industrial park … they are noisy."
Kuntz said she has been to past Worth County supervisor meetings, and has addressed the board with these concerns. Merlin Bartz, one of those supervisors, told the Globe Gazette he would be attending Thursday night's meeting.
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Bartz said he is optimistic about more turbines coming to the county, noting the economic impact they have on local residents. There are 229 turbines in the county, which are expected to generate about $172 million in taxable revenue.
"Worth County’s past track record is very positive working with the turbine companies and they’ve been very beneficial to the taxpayers … it’s a win-win situation," he said.
Kuntz said Thursday's meeting will feature multiple information tables about wind turbines. Then, Janna Swanson, a director on the board of the Coalition for Rural Property Rights, will give a presentation showing why wind turbines are not beneficial for Worth County.
The presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Residents will also be able comment with any concerns or beliefs about wind turbines in Worth County.
"We could make a lot of money signing up for this, but at a cost," Kuntz argued. "I’m contacting every landowner to give them information and polling them as I go, and I’m finding overwhelmingly that local farm owners are opposing this."