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The Whispering Willow Wind Farm-East is located in Franklin County, in north central Iowa. It began commercial operation in December 2009. A second phase – the West phase – could be added as economic conditions allow.
Whispering Willow East consists of 121 turbines capable of generating up to 200 MW of electricity, enough power for approximately 50,000 homes. Currently, the wind farm employs nearly 30 people directly and indirectly through contracts. Many of the people live in nearby towns and cities bringing valuable economic activity to the area. Property taxes for the wind farm will be phased in over time which will bring even more benefit to the community.
The Whispering Willow Wind Farm-East helps IPL meet existing Renewable Portfolio Standards. However, IPL does sell renewable energy above and beyond that standard for Renewable Energy Credits to reduce customer costs.
More photos of the Whispering Willow Wind Farm are available in our Wind Farm Photo Gallery.
Whispering Willow Wind Farm-East Facts
Frequently Asked Questions
Whispering Willow Wind Farm
When did IPL build the Whispering Willow wind farm?
Construction of Whispering Willow began in December 2008 and the wind farm became operational in December 2009.
Why was IPL interested in this site?
Alliant Energy believes in preparing for our customers’ and Iowa’s energy future. Our company is committed to maintaining our strong renewable presence in the State of Iowa. The Whispering Willow Wind Farm is located in the center of our state’s ‘wind belt’, which means that the wind will generate electricity for our customers more consistently than in other parts of Iowa.
How much electricity is generated by Whispering Willow Wind Farm?
Whispering Willow is capable of generating 200 megawatts of energy, enough to power approximately 50,000 homes.
How many turbines are at Whispering Willow Wind Farm?
Whispering Willow Wind Farm-East has 121 Vestas V82 turbines. Each of the turbines is capable of producing 1.65 megawatts of electricity.
Where is the wind farm site?
Whispering Willow Wind Farm-East is located in Franklin County, Iowa, near Hampton.
Are there IPL employees present at Whispering Willow Wind Farm?
Approximately 18-25 full-time staff are necessary for the operation of the Whispering Willow Wind Farm. These employees are a combination of management, engineering, technicians and administrative staff.
What type of lighting is used around the wind turbines?
There is no base-level lighting on or around the wind turbines. The only lighting on the wind turbines is the mandatory FAA lighting on the top of the wind turbine to alert aircraft.
Will the landowners still able to use the land around the wind turbines?
With the exception of a 50’ x 50’ parcel directly surrounding the wind turbine’s base and a narrow access road, landowners will be able to utilize all the land surrounding the wind turbine. Many farm roads can double as access roads, reducing non-usable land even further.
How does Whispering Willow Wind Farm help the economy in Franklin County?
The wind farm has given Franklin County the ability to capture millions of dollars to use for infrastructure projects and at the same time a portion of the wind farm’s taxes are flowing through to all schools, cities, townships and all other county entities.
What are the environmental benefits of wind power?
Wind power benefits the environment because it does not create any emissions or deplete natural resources, such as wetlands and animal habitats.
Does Whispering Willow Wind Farm harm birds or bats?
The impact of wind farms on birds or bats is mostly determined by flight patterns of birds and bats in the area and a review of natural resources which could serve as habitats for avian wildlife. In order to determine any potential impacts to birds and bats, a risk analysis was completed during the early project planning stages and a preconstruction bird survey was conducted in the fall of 2008. It was determined the project site is a low-risk for bird and bat mortality.
What additional environmental assessments were conducted for the Whispering Willow Wind Farm?
An analysis of impacts to threatened and endangered species was conducted at the wind farm site. This review concluded that minimal or no impacts to any threatened and endangered species will occur since most land in the project area is already being used for intense row crop production and there is a lack of suitable habitat. Also, further environmental studies indicate that the wind turbines should not impede upon the natural habitat of other animals, such as deer, rabbits, and should not disturb wetlands areas or historic archaeological sites.