Funding For Wind Projects Generates Controversy

6 years 1 month 1 week 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 - Two members of the Delta Upsilon fraternity, who wished to remain anonymous, told KOMU 8 News Monday night... More >>
23 minutes ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 11:33:00 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS - Governor-elect Eric Greitens' wife Sheena was robbed at gunpoint Monday night. According to KSDK, St. Louis Police... More >>
2 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 9:49:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri is seeing an increase in the number of state highway fatalities, and MoDOT is worried it's... More >>
4 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 7:19:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - A group of University of Missouri students exceeded everybody's expectations in gift giving this holiday season, and the... More >>
5 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 6:49:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – Columbia is looking to cut down on traffic deaths and serious injuries, and is looking to join a... More >>
5 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 6:36:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council voted 5-2 in opposition to an ordinance that would have revised some licensing regulations... More >>
5 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 6:10:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Engineering crews kicked off three months of work on Nifong Blvd. on Monday as part of the road's... More >>
6 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 5:49:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - The fourth annual CoMoGives Campaign has some lofty goals for the 2016 holiday season, hoping to raise more... More >>
9 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 2:19:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police grew furry faces during a No Shave November fundraiser to benefit a local children's home. ... More >>
9 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 1:59:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — A single-car crash left a Fulton woman dead on Interstate 70 near Highway 40 and the Midway Travel... More >>
10 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 1:53:00 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A fatal shooting on Interstate 55 in south St. Louis has forced closure of all southbound... More >>
10 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 1:35:24 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis-area businessman and three other men will have a hearing Tuesday in federal court... More >>
10 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 1:24:17 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Columbia police officers arrested Edward Rosson Sunday night after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend while holding a machete... More >>
10 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 1:01:00 PM CST in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A Missouri man is jailed on $500,000 cash bond after being accused of telling co-workers he was... More >>
10 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 12:58:25 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A Missouri woman has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and involuntary manslaughter in a... More >>
11 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 12:32:13 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — We are fast-approaching the end of the holiday season and that time of year when some of us... More >>
11 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 12:09:00 PM CST in News
WAYNESVILLE — Pulaski County Sheriff Ronald Long will advise detectives investigating a discovery of an adolescent's remains to close the... More >>
12 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 11:47:16 AM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The November election put Republicans in full control of a record number of state legislatures around... More >>
12 hours ago December 05, 2016 Dec 5, 2016 Monday, December 05 2016 Monday, December 05, 2016 11:10:26 AM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 36°
12am 34°
1am 34°
2am 34°
3am 33°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

11:37p
Late Night with Seth Meyers
12:37a
Last Call with Carson Daly
1:07a
The Insider
11:30p
Rules of Engagement
12:00a
Raising Hope
12:30a
Cheaters

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:01p
Timeless
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Supergirl
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld