After a hard day of marching along gravel roads in Iowa, I set up my tent in the city park in Cumberland and walked a few more blocks to see what the small town had to offer.
I met a guy in the town bar with a Siemens logo stitched on his shirt and cap. That company makes wind turbine blades in Fort Madison, Iowa, and also does maintenance on some of the wind farms in the state.
Not only did I find out the size of the turbines in the nearby 193-turbine wind farm (2.3 Megawatts each) and how high they stood from the ground (260 feet up), but also the salary of guys who have to climb nearly 30 stories up inside the steel tubular towers to do maintenance. A technician salary starts at $24.50 per hour, which is very good money in rural Iowa. Crew members work hard and they get pretty well compensated.
Wind energy is helping to mitigate climate disruption. Close to 30 percent of all electricity generated in the state comes from wind power plants like the ones we passed by. The industry also supports a number of families in rural Iowa.
[To learn more about the Great March for Climate Action, click here]
[See Des Moines Register story, August 8]