Johnson County Designated as a Small Wind Innovation Zone

3/20/2012

Johnson County and Floyd County have been recognized by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) as Small Wind Innovation Zones. Johnson and Floyd counties are the first counties in Iowa to receive this designation. The IUB established the Small Wind Innovation Zone program in 2009 in an effort to encourage the development of private and distributed wind generation systems across Iowa.

“A small-wind turbine that is interconnected to the local electrical utility grid can reduce a home-owner’s consumption of utility-supplied electricity by increasing consumption of clean, renewable wind energy, and reduce a homeowner’s electric bill,” explained Johnson County Assistant Planner Josh Busard.

To qualify for designation, the Johnson County and Floyd County Boards of Supervisors approved an amendment to the Johnson County Unified Development Ordinance permitting private and distributed wind generators within the unincorporated areas of the County.

In the spirit of continued collaboration between the two counties, Johnson County and Floyd County staff worked together and submitted their applications for recognition as Small Wind Innovation Zones to the IUB together. The leadership in both counties has recognized the importance of creating policies and enacting ordinances that will promote greater use of Iowa’s abundant wind and its potential to be transformed into clean and renewable electrical energy.

The benefits for residents within Small Wind Innovation Zones include a renewable energy tax credit for turbine owners in innovation zones, as well as an expedited application process for interconnecting small wind energy systems with electric utilities.

Small wind turbines can supply a significant portion of residential energy needs.  A small, private wind generator with a typical rated power output of 1.5kW can produce about 230 kWh per month, which is over ¼ of an average-size home’s monthly energy needs.  A distributed wind generator, rated at 100kW, can produce about 250,000 kWh annually, which is enough to fully power 25 average-size homes for an entire year.