I’ve been going with my husband to visit his parents in their small town in north-central Iowa for about 18 years. In most of that time, few things have changed there, except for maybe the name of the town restaurant. But in the last few years, the landscape surrounding Wellsburg, Iowa has been transformed.
What was once flat farm land stretching to the horizon has turned into a series of giant wind farms. Sprouting from the fields like gargantuan corn stalks, the turbines stand hundreds of feet high, their propellers spinning with the constancy of a metronome. From a distance, it’s hard to gauge how high they really are or how fast they’re spinning. They seem to me all at once terrifying (what if one of those blades breaks off) and beautiful, especially at sunset. But then it doesn’t matter what I think. I’m not living next to one.
My in-laws aren’t living right next to one either, although they now have many turbines within two miles of their house. Because I’m insatiably curious, I did some research and found out some stuff you might not know:
- Windmills have been in use since 2000 B.C. and were first developed in Persia and China
- Modern wind turbines have 3 blades which can reach speeds at the tip of over 200 miles per hour
- The largest wind turbine in the world is located in Hawaii and stands 20 stories tall with blades the length of a football field
- A single wind turbine can power 500 homes
- Wind power does not use any water, so by the year 2030 wind energy will save about 30 trillion bottles of water in the U.S.
- As many as 1,300 eagles, falcons and hawks are killed each year due to wind turbines
- By 2014, more than 46,000 wind turbines were in operation
- There’s enough on-shore wind in America to power the country 10 times over
The magnificent wind is created by processes that God set up on our dynamic planet. He gave us the breeze for our enjoyment—to feel it blow through our hair on a hot day—but also for our use. We can be better stewards of our God given planet by investing in wind power.
What do you think? Do the benefits outweigh the costs (like dead birds, bats, noise, risk of airplanes hitting them) for developing wind energy?
Photos taken by me in Grundy County, Iowa.