University of Iowa

Linn County Windfarm Suitability Analysis

Linn County stakeholder meeting
Academic Year 
2018-2019
Project Partners 

In conjunction with officials from Linn County Iowa, graduate students in the School of Urban & Regional Planning will complete a Windfarm Suitability Analysis study for the unincorporated Linn County area. 

Wind farms, while predominantly located in northwestern Iowa, may begin to expand to the eastern side of the state with advances in technology. While wind energy is a popular option for sustainable power, it also requires the placement of large wind turbines that are expensive and can be logistically challenging to site. This analysis will identify current technologies and trends, as well as federal, state, and local-level plans, and conclude whether a utility-scale wind farm would be feasible for Linn County. The analysis will also include a spatial analysis of Linn County in order to determine an ideal location(s) for a potential windfarm, in keeping with environmental, land use, and public opinion constraints. The final deliverable will also include policy and procedural recommendations for the county, and will detail the anticipated site-specific and community impacts of wind farm placement and construction, including impacts on market prices, the natural environment, transportation and utility infrastructure, and more. 

Public input will be essential in constructing spatial constraints, and will generally help identify attitudes toward wind energy production in the county.  The process may include interviews, focus groups, public forums, and/or a survey of residents.  Key stakeholders include business leaders, elected officials, developers, the farming community, utility providers, and more.   

The planning team will consider how wind energy fits in the broader context of renewable energy production throughout the county, including but not limited to solar, biofuel, and hydroelectric.