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The energy produced by the turbines is sold to Alliant Energy, which distributes it primarily to its customers in Greene County.

“Over the course of a year,” explains Wind, “the power produced almost exactly matches the demand in Jefferson.”

That amount of wind-based energy also eliminates enough coal to fill a train three miles long every year. The impact is audible as the air-conditioners of Jefferson hum on a sunny June afternoon.

Beyond the direct benefit of providing a local source of clean energy, Hardin Hilltop’s revolving arms have reached far into the community, first with their construction in 2007.

David Ausberger, the owner of Turbine 7, remembers with a smile the excitement, bustle, and anxiety as his turbine was erected in the December rain.

Bill Sutton (top)

“People from across the county lined the roads to watch the turbines go up. Hotels were booked from here to Ames with people involved in the construction. Restaurants were full. It was a real boom time.”

After the construction crews left, the longer-lasting effects of the project began to emerge. “I think of it as small ripples in the community,” he says.

One of those ripples sits in a quiet corner of the buzzing Uptown Cafe and with pride describes the growth in his business since Hardin Hilltop’s construction.

Shane Kozal, a longtime friend of Ausberger’s, was hired to clean the turbine parts at Hardin Hilltop before they were assembled.

Shane and his wife, Wendy, co-owned and operated a part-time power washing business that supplemented wages Shane earned through his job at the local co-op.

(Read more Power Players)

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