It has only been two Years since a devastating EF5 tornado destroyed almost the entire town of Greensburg, Kan. The town is now pinning its future hopes on the force that nearly wiped it off the map.
In October, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced approval of a $17.4 million loan to Greensburg Wind Farm, a subsidiary of John Deere Renewables, for a wind turbine project that will supply power to the community.
Deere & Co. will provide an additional $5.8 million equity investment, bringing the total cost for the project to $23.3 million.
The 10 wind turbines will generate 12.5 megawatts of electricity that will serve the electric needs of Greensburg and other rural communities in the Kansas Power Pool. The wind farm is expected to start producing power next year.
The project symbolizes the city’s rebuilding efforts, which began after a tornado destroyed 95 percent of its homes in 2007. The city decided to rebuild as a green community, drawing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable power.
It has been a collective effort, with federal agencies playing crucial roles. The Department of Agriculture has provided approximately $20 million to support the recovery of local housing and hospitals as well as other economic development. The Department of Energy also opened a local office to advise residents and commercial users on sustainable rebuilding and provided experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to conduct studies and develop strategies for renewable energy and efficiency.