HAMPTON, Iowa — Northern Iowa could have one of the nation’s largest wind farms by 2008. Iowa Winds LLC wants to build a 200- to 300-megawatt farm covering about 40,000 acres in Franklin County. A county zoning board will consider approving permits for the $200 million project next month. ‘It’s something new and renewable,” said Amber Schwarck, a spokeswoman for the Iowa Falls-based company. ‘It’s great for national security, so we can start depending on ourselves and the wind.” Iowa ranks third in the nation in wind energy behind Texas and California, according to the American Wind Energy Association. The Franklin County Wind Farm would help Iowa keep pace with those states and create 30 to 40 technical jobs maintaining turbines, said Schwarck. A pay scale was unavailable. Company officials said the farm could be the nation’s largest — depending on the permits and the county’s power grid infrastructure. The project would be built near Bradford and involve 193 landowners in the townships of Grant, Hamilton, Ingham, Lee, Morgan, Oakland and Reeves. If the county approves the project, construction would start next spring and take about a year, said Franklin County Supervisor Michael Nolte. […]

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