DARLINGTON – A dedication for the Quilt Block Wind Farm (QBWF) took place at the Darlington Country Club in Friday, Nov. 10 at 11:00 a.m. The dedication was put on by Dairyland Power Cooperative and EDP Renewables North America. Approximately 80 attendees were served lunch, listened to speeches and held a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Darcie Lydum, Development Project Manager for QBWF emceed the program and gave a short overview of the project.
Darlington Mayor David Breunig led off the festivities and welcomed everyone to Darlington. He also expressed his thanks to QBWF and an appreciation of the workers who patronized the area.
Brodie Dockendorf the EDP Renewables Quilt Block Wind Farm - Sites Operation Manager was introduced. Dockendorf will be the main contact regarding any issues with QBWF. He stated he has nine years experience running an Iowa wind farm and is looking forward to a new challenge at QBWF.
Next Steve Irvin, EDP Renewables Executive Vice-President of Central, Western and Mexico Region, was introduced. Irvin thanked land owners and public officials for their patience and said his company has been working on this project for many years and was glad to see it finally at the operation phase.
Irvin said, “Over the last fifteen years that we have been working to bring this project to fruition, we have been improving our development process, improving the way we look at environment analysis on projects, improving our engineering and design, working with our construction partners IEA White and our turbine suppliers Vestas. Vestas has made tremendous improvements in their technology to lower the cost of the turbines and increase the efficiency of turbines. Such that, we were finally able to offer a product that was attractive to our customer Dairyland Power Cooperative who signed a twenty year purchase agreement with us.”
Irvin continued, “The project has also brought great economic impact and will bring great environmental benefits to the area. During this fifteen year development phase we have paid more than $1.8 million in development payments to land owners and over the next thirty years we expect to pay close to $25 million in development payments to land owners for allowing us to operate our equipment on their very precious land. We also have revenue sharing agreement with Seymour Township - $150,000 a year for twenty years and Lafayette County will receive $200,000 a year for twenty years. Significant economic contributions to the community.”
Irvin stated, “For the wind farm itself our company made a $170 million investment. At it’s peak we employed approximately 250 people during the construction phase of the project. Now as we enter the operation phase of the project, we expect to have ten people employed as part of our long term operation crew here. The wind farm will produce 98 megawatts and will supply the power to approximately 25,000 homes and from the emissions standpoint it will take 45,000 cars off the roads.”
Barbara Nick, President and CEO of Dairyland Power Cooperative, was introduced. Nick said, “This is Dairylands largest commitment to renewables and is a key part in our diversification strategy. Dairyland provides power to twenty-four distribution co-ops (including Scenic Rivers).” Nick saluted the veterans in attendance and stated 65 of their 515 employees are veterans.”
Nick said, “Our company has been in existence for 76 years ago and it was farmers who brought us together. I don’t think our founding farmers had envisioned a day when their fields would be harvesting wind for power.”
Seymour Township chair Tim McComish was introduced and said, “This has been quite an undertaking from day one. The road agreement was my main focus and it turned out great. Any roads that were damaged during construction were repaired to brand new road condition. As for the entire project, I thought this was going to be a troublesome year, but it went very smoothly. The whole project went fast. Everybody enjoyed watching the tubines being built. We had very little complaints in Seymour Township. I have a windmill on my land and 150 years ago in about the same spot there was a windmill there pumping water. Now we got one that’s a little bigger.”
Representative Todd Novak was the final speaker. Novak Said, “When Tom Jean, Lafayette County Highway Commissioner, introduced me to this project, my first thought was how impressive this project is. Towering over the cornfields is a $170 million investment in clean energy, who would have thought this day would come. It’s a privilege to welcome QBWF to the community. In my job I only get complaint calls. I received no complaints at all.”
The program then adjourned and proceeded to a ribbon cutting ceremony. Then for those who chose a coach bus gave a tour of the wind towers.