Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm has an installed capacity of 300.3 megawatts (MW) — enough to power approximately 88,000 average Iowa homes with clean energy each year.
Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm yields significant economic benefits to the community in the form of payments to landowners, local spending, and annual community investment.
Pioneer Prairie represents a capital investment of approximately $661 million and has dispersed $16 million in cumulative payments to local governments through 2017. The project created 338 full-time equivalent jobs during construction as well as 23 permanent jobs. Through 2017, approximately $66 million has been spent within 50 miles of the wind farm.
Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm saves more than 460 million gallons of water each year and displaces carbon emissions from fossil fuel power plants, a major contributor to climate change. Wind energy also enhances air quality by helping to mitigate the health effects of harmful air pollutants.
Pioneer Prairie Wind Farm is compatible with other land uses and provides a stable form of income to local landowners. More than $15 million has been paid to the wind farm’s landowners through 2017. These supportive landowners participate in long-term lease and easement agreements that cover turbines, access roads, and transmission corridors
Modern wind turbine generators are sophisticated, high-tech machines designed to capture the kinetic energy of the wind and convert it into electricity. A turbine’s blades capture the wind and rotate an internal shaft connected to a gearbox spinning a generator to produce electricity. Tubular steel towers support a hub with three attached blades and a nacelle, which houses the shaft, gearbox, generator, and controls. Wind measurements are collected to automatically rotate the turbine to face the strongest wind and angle, or “pitch,” its blades to optimize the energy captured. Electricity must be produced at just the right frequency and voltage to be compatible with the utility grid.
Pioneer Prairie I Wind Farm consists of 120 Vestas V82 1.65 MW wind turbines, and Pioneer Prairie II Wind Farm consists of 62 Vestas V82 1.65 MW wind turbines.