Filed under: Utilities
By Seth Masia
An Earth Day breakthrough slipped past us: Rock Port, Mo. threw a “green switch” and became the first municipality in the U.S. powered entirely by wind turbines.
Can’t find Rock Port on the map? It’s an agricultural crossroads town of 1300 independent-minded souls, about 75 miles south of Omaha and a few miles east of the Missouri River.
Over the past year, a crew of 500 workers put up four 1.2 mW Suzlon wind turbines, on 250-foot towers, generating more electricity than the town can use. The municipal utility district therefore sells the excess to Missouri Joint Municipal Utitlities, a consortium of 31 cities. The towers sit on the crest of Loess Hills, municipal land just west of town.
The project was funded through Wind Capital Group of St. Louis, which has been building wind farms in Missouri since 2004. The company now has four farms complete or under construction in the state, totalling about 160 mW capacity, with plans in place to build 1400 mW across ten states.
It’s been fashionable for a couple of years for medium-sized corporations to claim they’re powered entirely by wind (or at least by renewable energy credits). SOLAR TODAY recently reported on the first school district to run entirely on wind. We ought to begin tracking firsts of steadily increasing size and importance: The first university campus run entirely on renewable energy? The first public transport system? The first county? The first investor-owned utility? The first island nation? Send us your firsts!
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