A plan to deliver wind power from Northwest Iowa to Chicago and other areas in the East is going to generate lots of new jobs here in Siouxland.Sioux City tower maker Sabre Industries has signed a deal to build hundred of utilities poles for the company behind the project, Clean Line Energy.
The union of two mega-companies could quickly make Iowa number 1 in the wind energy industry.
Officials say it's a win-win for statewide and local economy."We think this should be looked at as any other exporting initiative that Iowa does because we know that this is like Iowa's new cash crop," said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The partnership will finally allow Iowa to be become a competitive exporter of wind power.
That's because the new infrastructure will create a 500-mile overhead transmission line.
Sabre will supply the Rock Island Clean Line project with its manufactured steel towers.
That infrastructure will help Clean Line create a transmission line with 3,500 megawatts of renewable power to northwest Iowa, parts of Illinois and other East coast states.
Leaders of the project say it's an investment worth making. "For a transmission line like ours to work well for Iowa, uh, we need to make sure that it benefits as many people as possible and uh using locally sourced products, like towers from Sabre, uh, is very very helpful to the product; it just makes for a better project all around," said President Micahel Skelly of Clean Line Energy. Wind farm landowners and locals will also benefit from the project.
It's estimated 2,000 new wind turbines will go up and create about 5,000 construction jobs and 5,00 permanent positions. "It's really, what, this whole facility what's been done between the state the city put this together, it's really what the American way should be. We've done it, we've proven it. We talked about, you know, we'll build and they'll come but you know it's really been a, a well-planned out strategy that we had," said Peter Sandore, president and CEO of Sabre Industries Inc. A plan that's already created 250 jobs at Sabre's newest facility and may add 100 more to build this transmission line.
The project is expected to launch mid 2015 and could take 5 to 7 years.
The estimated cost of the project is nearly $2 billion dollars.
Project leaders say once completed, nearly one and-a half million homes in the Midwest will be powered by the renewable energy.
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