The Iowa Supreme Court has rejected an effort by local landowners to block a proposed 170-turbine wind project in northwest Iowa after it won approval from government regulators.
A group of local residents had filed two lawsuits challenging the site plans by Palo Alto Wind Energy and MidAmerican Energy, which included one against the Iowa Utilities Board and another against the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors.
The higher court’s rulings removed a major barrier to the wind energy project in Palo Alto County. it provides more certainty that similar projects will be able to proceed in the future.
The lawsuits brought forth a section of Iowa law that mandates the certificate for large wind-energy projects located at a single site. However, the utilities board maintained that the Palo Alto County wind farm is not technically a single site but a cluster of different facilities that will rely on different power lines.
The court has upheld this position, ruling that the wind project would fail to produce enough energy to require a special certificate because the turbine are not connected by the single line.