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Despite Challenges, Wind Energy Development Worth the Effort

Despite Challenges, Wind Energy Development Worth the Effort

Date: 12/1/2008

Source: Stacia Cudd, National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service

Audio with Dave Drescher, John Deere Wind Energy Vice President (MP3 2.3 MB) Download Windows Media Player. Time: 00:02:30.

John Deere has been involved with several community wind projects — but the project size and structures have grown beyond local ownership. That's according to John Deere Wind Energy Vice President Dave Drescher who says the current financial crisis and other challenges have impacted Deere's participation in wind energy development. Primarily due to increased capital costs, he says the company has taken a more active role.

"There is no question that the development process has grown in both cost and complexity. For instance, the arduous process of interconnecting a project to the grid is one that all developers face and that's something that has a lot of regulatory complexity and process complexity to get it done. It can take several years. That's just one example of the kinds of things with the growth of the wind business. There have been new challenges."

And Drescher says the industry has to find a way to overcome each new challenge in order to meet the national vision of generating 20-percent of the nation's electricity using wind energy by the year 2030.

"We think long-term, wind will play an increasingly important role as one of the sources of America's energy needs. It would be poor stewardship, in my view, if we don't find a way to harness a resource which can give us a source of clean, renewable energy at a very predictable cost. And that can translate for future generations. It's also very good for rural communities, ranchers and landowners, so we think there'll be a substantial benefit from the further development of wind as we progress towards the 20% vision that the Department of Energy has outlined."

Drescher says that's why — despite today's economic situation — John Deere wants to keep moving forward with wind projects.

"It's hard to say in detail what this is going to mean. But we're continuing all of our 2009 project plans. The business is capital intensive and all developers and owners of wind projects need access to capital it costs, which makes the projects work. So really, it remains to be seen how deep and how long this financial turmoil will last and we're going to have to monitor these developments very carefully."

Drescher notes John Deere has been committed to the economic growth and sustainability of agricultural communities for more than 170 years. He says the benefits of wind energy investments to the rural American economy — and the economic growth opportunities for landowners, ranchers and other ag-related businesses — make it a perfect fit for their business.

This information was last updated on December 01, 2008