There were three different compensation offers, depending on how close each landowner would be to the generators, Gordon said.
Most of the offers were for electrical reimbursement, in the amount of either 10,000 or 20,000 kilowatt-hours per year.
According to a copy of the agreement obtained by The Hays Daily News, the initial reimbursement rate would be set by the electricity rate in the owner's most recent electrical bill. The electricity reimbursement rate would escalate by 1 percent each year.
Davis also said it is important for commissioners to solidify the necessary conditions in the county's zoning regulations before entering a contractual agreement.
"When you buy a house, you don't sign a contract and say 'let's go back and talk about the roof that leaks,' " he said. "At the point you sign the contract, you lose the ability to negotiate."
Fort Hays State University had an interest in the county's decision; however, President Edward H. Hammond said the university would continue with its motions to bring a wind farm to Hays.
"The university is going to go ahead with wind generation on our property," Hammond said. "This decision means we will do it alone."
In a 2-1 decision, the conditional-use permit application for the proposed wind farm was denied by the Ellis County Commission during today's meeting.
Vernon Berens and Dennis Pfannenstiel voted in favor of the conditional-use permit application, while Perry Henman said the county should start the application process over and revisit zoning regulations.
"I've been, in the past, for it with conditions. And I've sort of changed my mind on that," Henman said. "I'm pretty much thinking that we need to re-do our zoning rules and regs. They're insufficient."
On Tuesday morning, Vernon Berens, Dennis Pfannenstiel and Perry Henman will make arguably their biggest decision as Ellis County commissioners: wind farm or no wind farm. ...Henman said he's decided not to let the over-arching debate of wind energy as a whole effect his decision. The issue is based on zoning regulations, property rights and local quality of life, he said.
"Personally, I'm trying to not let those things influence my decision -- if wind towers are evil or good," Henman said. "To me, they're a machine. It makes electricity, and we just need to decide, through zoning, where we need to put them."
Plans for a wind farm in northeast Cowley County have been resurrected as the new owners of The Elk River Wind Project look to expand. The owners have applied for a licensing agreement to build a wind farm in Cowley County dubbed Elk River II that could plant up to 110 wind turbines in northeast Cowley and another 70 or so in Elk County if initial plans come to pass.
At Monday's Ellis County Commission meeting, it was suggested Iberdrola Project Manager Krista Gordon would appear on next week's agenda to answer questions regarding the proposed wind farm.
But there's been a change of plans. Gordon's appearance has been canceled, and there will be no wind farm discussion during Monday's meeting, said Chairman Vernon Berens.
The decision was made because commissioners didn't want to reopen the public hearing portion of the application process, Berens said.
"Plans changed because too many wanted to come back on the agenda, and we've heard all we wanted to hear," he said. "So we said anything with the wind farm will be nixed for Monday, and we'll make a decision on (Sept. 4)."
It will be November before a final decision is made, but at least two companies have indicated an interest in building a transmission line that would pass near Hays.
One of those companies - ITC Great Plains - officially is on record that it would like to build the line, which would run from Spearville to the Knoll substation just northwest of Hays and then to Axtell, Neb., just south of Kearney.
While it's significant that the line would come close to Hays, it's also the first line that a relatively new state agency - on its own accord - has proposed building if no private company steps forward.
Talk of the proposed wind farm again breezed into Ellis County Commission chambers Monday morning.
The final decision, however, has been postponed until early September. Dennis R. Davidson, county counselor for the application, requested additional time to prepare, county chairman Vernon Berens said.
"We'll meet with our attorney this week and set up a date," Berens said. "Tentatively, we've set up a date for Sept. 4. The bottom line is we'll make a decision."
Iberdrola drafted a six-page document of conditions the company is prepared to offer, provided the county grants the conditional-use zoning permit.
Commissioners discussed progress toward a final decision regarding the proposed wind farm southwest of Hays at Monday's Ellis County Commission meeting.
Keith Pfannenstiel, who resides on Mount Pleasant Road, asked the county commissioners when they expect to vote on the issue.
"We don't have a definite date set yet, but I would say maybe the 27th of August or the Tuesday after Labor Day," said Chairman Vernon Berens.
Longtime Greensburg resident and community leader Bob Mosier announced late Tuesday afternoon he'd just received word from Tom Fieler of Clipper Wind, Inc. that agreement has been reached between his firm and Westar Energy of Topeka to build a 105 megawatt electricity-generating wind farm on the same site south of Mullinville previously considered by KCP&L for a similar facility in 2005. That contract was eventually awarded to a site surrounding the town of Spearville.
TOPEKA | With a lump of coal in one hand and the prairie wind in the other, Kansas is marching into its energy future.
The state is poised to approve one of the largest coal-fired power plants ever built west of the Mississippi River, even as officials announced plans recently for transmission lines designed to encourage more wind farms.
To utility companies and key officials, this is the right direction. They say that the state must embrace an energy mix of coal and wind and that pitting the two sources against each other is wrongheaded.
"Adding wind generation to the Kansas electrical generation portfolio is part of the solution - but we cannot expect it to be the solution," Gov. Kathleen Sebelius said in a news release.
El Paso County commissioners will hear plans today for a major power transmission project that will sweep the southeastern corner of the county.
The Eastern Plains Transmission Project aims at constructing 1,000 miles of power lines reaching as tall as 14 stories that could eventually link power on Colorado's eastern plains to southwestern Kansas.
It would cut across some of the best wind-energy generation sites in the state, project managers say, and have the capacity for future conversion to such renewable energies.
The conditional-use permit application regarding the proposed Ellis County wind farm cannot be passed except by a unanimous vote of the Ellis County Commission, it was announced this morning.
Ellis County Clerk Alberta Klaus presented the results of the formal protest petition, which was filed in opposition of the project June 20. Signatures were collected for 43.19 percent of the proposed wind farm's perimeter.
"That's what we've been waiting on. This is the next step in our process with the wind farm," said County Chairman Vernon Berens. "We were waiting on the signatures, that we had the necessary signatures."
According to Ellis County zoning regulations, a unanimous vote is required if petitions are endorsed by 20 percent of landowners within a 1,000-foot perimeter of a proposed project.
If the signatures had not amounted to the 20 percent requirement, the vote could have passed with a simple two-thirds majority.
At Monday's Ellis County Commission meeting, County Clerk Alberta Klaus is scheduled to present information regarding a protest petition filed in objection to the proposed Ellis County wind farm.
While the Ellis County Planning and Zoning Commission has made its recommendation, the fate of the proposed Ellis County wind farm depends upon the county commission.
"It's in our hands, and we will make a decision," said Vernon Berens, chairman of the Ellis County Commission.
The issue of wind farm development in Kansas isn't new to Hays resident and state Rep. Dan Johnson, R-Hays.
"I've been (in the Legislature) for 11 years and have probably received more communication on wind farms than any other single issue," said Johnson, who has been on the Energy and Utilities committee for several years. "That's without doing any scientific research."
He estimated that this communication is a 50-50 split of opponents and proponents to various wind projects.
Plans are in the works for Iberdrola, the company heading the proposed Ellis County wind farm, to enter contract negotiations with landowners adjacent to the project area.
Project manager Krista Gordon said the contracts are not yet finalized, but arrangements are being made and landowners are being approached, she said.
"It's designed to compensate anybody for any potential inconvenience caused by the project," she said. "We understand that construction activity has the potential to be disruptive."
Some landowners, however, say that these attempts to negotiate are too little, too late.
As public sentiment remains strong regarding the proposed Ellis County wind farm, signs expressing both opposition to and support for the project have sprouted up inside Hays city limits, along Interstate 70 and throughout the county. A total of about 30 professionally printed signs against the project have been posted, and police reports have been filed for the vandalism of two such signs located on Golf Course Road, said Chuck White, a detective with the Ellis County Sheriff's office.
A program aided by the U.S. Department of Energy seeks to place small wind turbines at several rural Kansas high schools in the next three years.
Wind for Schools is a national outreach effort of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado, where organizers hope to familiarize rural America with a cheap local source of power.
The program will help selected schools construct a 1.8-megawatt wind generator on a 60-foot tower. In addition, they'll provide educational support for all school levels to create lessons based on the turbine.