Wind Turbine Makes Lenox Iowa a Green City

A new wind turbine that came on-line just days ago will generate 10 percent of Lenox, Iowa’s electricity needs, replacing power from fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

Lenox, Iowa – January 6, 2004[] “The city of Lenox, which owns the wind turbine, is selling the power we don’t consume in our municipal facilities to Lenox Municipal Utilities for the use of all Lenox residents and businesses,” said Stan Curtis, Lenox Mayor. The wind turbine, which towers over the community from a hill south of town, is also generating support from the citizens of Lenox. Almost 10 percent the households in Lenox have signed up to contribute US$2 per month toward renewable energy through Lenox Municipal Utilities’ Green City Energy program. All Iowa electric utilities, including those that are municipally owned, must offer their customers a chance to participate in renewable energy through a voluntary payment program. “When you add the wind generation to the 60 percent of our energy that is already coming from hydroelectric power, we now are supplying a large majority of our energy from clean, renewable sources,” said Dave Ferris, general manager of Lenox Municipal Utilities. Across the country, participation in voluntary programs to support renewable energy averages one to three percent. “We’re involved with wind energy in Lenox because it’s good for the environment, the economy, and our state’s and nation’s energy independence,” said Ferris. “Supporting renewable energy and making Lenox a green city is a way we can ensure that what we’re leaving to our children and grandchildren is a clean environment, a healthy economy, and a secure nation.” According to Patti Cale-Finnegan of the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities, Lenox’s participation rate makes it the most successful current green power customer program in the United States. “Installing the wind turbine has already provided great benefits for our city,” said Norbert Bradley, a member of the Lenox Municipal Utilities board of trustees. “It’s a visible sign that Lenox is a progressive community.” The city of Lenox received a $400,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development to help pay for the wind turbine. Each year, the 750-kW turbine will produce approximately 1.8 million kWh of electricity. Each $2 contribution supports the production of 100 kWh of renewable electricity. It also represents a savings of about 150 pounds of carbon dioxide and 14.6 pounds of sulfur dioxide.
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