Funding For Wind Projects Generates Controversy

6 years 8 months 3 weeks ago October 26, 2010 Oct 26, 2010 Tuesday, October 26 2010 Tuesday, October 26, 2010 10:32:23 AM CDT in News

KING CITY - If wind energy has become the kingmaker in northwest Missouri, meet the king: farmer David Waltemath.

Waltemath, a lifelong resident of King City, Mo., a city of 1,000 near the Iowa border, and his family own the largest share of the first wind farm in Missouri. St. Louis-based Wind Capital Group leases Waltemath's land for $18,000 per year to operate six wind towers on his property.

"It's not a huge amount of money, but it helps. It beats farming," Waltemath laughs.

Just a few years ago, not may would have thought of Missouri as hot wind energy property. That all changed after Wind Capital Group built five wind farms in the northwest part of the state which power more than 100,000 homes. Some of those homes powered are in Columbia, which buys electricity from the King City wind farms.

The way they have funded these ventures has changed as well. Before the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, wind energy was largely funded by private investment. But the stimulus package made taxpayer money part of the funding formula for wind energy by creating tax credits for renewable energy projects.

Wind Capital Group says its wind farms have had a nearly-$600 million impact on the Missouri economy. King City farmer Don Eiberger, who has several turbines on his land, says the wind projects brought a lot of money into the local economy.

"We had more money coming in so they got to build onto the school," Eiberger recalls, "and when they were building it, it helped the restaurants out" when workers went into town to eat.

Wind Capital's latest northwest Missouri wind project qualified for $107 million from the stimulus. Because Wind Capital Group's owner is Tom Carnahan, brother of Democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan and Rep. Russ Carnahan, Republicans have cried foul.

GOP Senate candidate Roy Blunt has launched television ads attacking the Carnahans for allegedly lobbying in Washington to get money for the wind farm, now standing 100 turbines strong just south of King City.

However, several stakeholders in King City, including its Republican state representative Jim Guest, don't buy Blunt's criticisms.

"I don't believe it was a backroom deal," Guest says. "I've done business with Robin and I don't believe Russ Carnahan, Tom's brother, had the influence to pull this off."

Guest sees the stimulus dollars as necessary for this wind project to succeed, because "wind energy is not cheap right now."

Waltemath says he doesn't pay much attention to Blunt's ads. However, he sees similarities between Recovery Act aid to renewable energy and other federal programs designed to aid farms.

"[The programs] are usually designed so they don't only benefit you, but so that they benefit others as well," Waltemath said. "So I look at it that if the Carnahan's are using this program to help stimulate wind energy, then they're certainly helping everybody."

Regardless of whether Blunt's charges stick, the broader question of wind energy's viability remains. There is still no way to store excess power generated at a wind farm, and no way to meet high demand for power if the wind isn't blowing hard enough without turning to other energy sources.  Additionally, Wind Capital Group says there isn't a way transmit energy produced on a wind farm to places where consumers immediately need it.

Waltemath believes wind power should be balanced with investments in nuclear energy. Rep. Guest thinks clean coal technology and solar power have promise in the near future.

Below is a web graphic showing Wind Capital Group's wind projects in the state of Missouri. The map shows the average wind speed at 80 meters above the ground, the height used as a measure for whether an area's wind speeds are high enough for wind power development. The Department of Energy says that areas with average wind speeds higher than 6.5 m/s (shaded orange on the map) are suitable for development. (Source: Department of Energy, Wind Capital Group)

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A man died of gunshot wound after he was transported to a local hospital in a personal vehicle... More >>
13 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 10:37:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
PUTNAM COUNTY - The Putnam County Sheriff's Department canceled the Endangered SILVER Advisory for Thomas B. Carman after he has... More >>
17 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 6:26:55 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Saturday former Mizzou Football and basketball raised over $40,000 for charity and left it all on the court... More >>
17 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 5:53:00 PM CDT in News
STURGEON - Extreme heat caused the Boone County Fair to get off to a late start on Saturday. "The... More >>
19 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 4:24:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Show-Me State Games are in full swing with a showcase of over 30 sports with competitors from all... More >>
20 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 3:45:00 PM CDT in Continuous News
COLUMBIA – The Boone County Sheriff’s Department, in a joint effort with the Boone County Fire Department, trained children in... More >>
20 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 3:09:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A man died and two females were critically injured in an apparently accidental carbon monoxide poisoning... More >>
20 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 2:54:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Fifty-eight law enforcement agencies across Missouri are cracking down on speeding from Friday to Sunday. They will stop... More >>
21 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 2:15:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police used pepper spray to disperse a crowd protesting outside the city's medium-security jail... More >>
22 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 1:36:20 PM CDT in News
CHESTERFIELD (AP) — The former administrator of a Chesterfield pediatric clinic is charged with stealing more than $115,000 from the... More >>
22 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 1:32:35 PM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Greene County authorities are looking for nine people who are believed to be involved in an alleged... More >>
22 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 1:25:05 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Kansas City police are investigating three shooting deaths that occurred within four hours Friday. The... More >>
23 hours ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 11:53:23 AM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — A plant fossil chipped out of a cliff on the grounds of Park University in northwest... More >>
1 day ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 11:35:32 AM CDT in News
NEOSHO (AP) — A police officer has fatally shot a man who raised a gun during a traffic stop in... More >>
1 day ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 6:26:00 AM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A suspect is dead after allegedly pointing a gun at St. Louis police officers who were... More >>
1 day ago July 22, 2017 Jul 22, 2017 Saturday, July 22 2017 Saturday, July 22, 2017 6:17:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - A mural that represents a bright future from a troubled past will be painted this summer on the... More >>
1 day ago July 21, 2017 Jul 21, 2017 Friday, July 21 2017 Friday, July 21, 2017 5:47:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Show Me States Games began officially with a torch run ending at Shelter Insurance in Columbia. ... More >>
1 day ago July 21, 2017 Jul 21, 2017 Friday, July 21 2017 Friday, July 21, 2017 5:37:00 PM CDT in News
PUTNAM COUNTY - The Putnam County Sheriff's Department issued an Endangered SILVER Advisory for a missing adult on Friday, July... More >>
1 day ago July 21, 2017 Jul 21, 2017 Friday, July 21 2017 Friday, July 21, 2017 4:40:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 80°
12pm 83°
1pm 86°
2pm 90°
3pm 92°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00a
The 146th Open Championship
1:00p
Countdown to Green
1:30p
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
11:30a
Paid Program
12:00p
Family Guy
12:30p
Family Guy

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
8:00p
Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge
6:00p
Laws of Attraction
8:00p
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld