Article

Opponents of Proposed Wind Farm Cite 'Industrialization' of Rural Economy

Nov. 30--LINDSBORG -- Three opponents of large-scale wind farms explained their reasons Tuesday night in Lindsborg to a group of about 50 people.

A Spanish company, Gamesa Energy, proposed in April building 50 windmills, each close to 400 feet tall, in rural McPherson County to generate electricity. In recent months, two other such wind farms, one near Montezuma in southwest Kansas, and one near Beaumont in southeast Kansas, have been completed, and at least a dozen others are proposed around the state.
Because of opposition, McPherson County commissioners in August put a 180-day moratorium on development of wind farms in the county to give them more time to study the issue.
Opponents who spoke included Rose Bacon, who lives near Council Grove and served on the governor's wind energy task force; Larry Patton, who lives in Butler County, and Margy Stewart of rural Junction City, who has been working against a similar plan in Riley County.
All three cited similar problems, including what they called the "industrialization" of a rural area, the fact that few if any local jobs are created, potential health problems, and even the environmental effect of such developments.
Bacon, showing slides of the 8,000-acre development near Beaumont, said the heavy equipment... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
A Spanish company, Gamesa Energy, proposed in April building 50 windmills, each close to 400 feet tall, in rural McPherson County to generate electricity. In recent months, two other such wind farms, one near Montezuma in southwest Kansas, and one near Beaumont in southeast Kansas, have been completed, and at least a dozen others are proposed around the state.
Because of opposition, McPherson County commissioners in August put a 180-day moratorium on development of wind farms in the county to give them more time to study the issue.
Opponents who spoke included Rose Bacon, who lives near Council Grove and served on the governor's wind energy task force; Larry Patton, who lives in Butler County, and Margy Stewart of rural Junction City, who has been working against a similar plan in Riley County.
All three cited similar problems, including what they called the "industrialization" of a rural area, the fact that few if any local jobs are created, potential health problems, and even the environmental effect of such developments.
Bacon, showing slides of the 8,000-acre development near Beaumont, said the heavy equipment used during construction, and the roads and turbine foundations will irreparably damage the area.
"You cannot fix native ground," she said. "You cannot replace virgin prairie."
And, she said, the open prairie "is not just grass, it's the horizon." She explained that the turbines are visible from 20 miles away, and that the blades are roughly the same size as the wingspan of a 747 jet airplane.
In addition, they said, the electricity generated is unreliable, because it depends on the wind, and often isn't available at all during peak usage periods.
Because it doesn't produce constantly, wind energy won't reduce the need for conventional power plants, Patton said, adding that Westar has said wind energy isn't currently economically feasible.
And, he said, Kansas currently generates 22 percent more energy than it uses, and most of the wind energy from the two existing farms is sold out of state.
Patton said it's been estimated that two-thirds of the revenue from such wind farms is from federal subsidies, and that the Beaumont development is owned by a Scottish company.
"That means our tax dollars are flowing to a bank in Scotland," he said. "It's not about generating energy, it's about collecting government subsidies."
-----

Source: http://www.redorbit.com/new...

NOV 30 2005
http://www.windaction.org/posts/576-opponents-of-proposed-wind-farm-cite-industrialization-of-rural-economy
back to top