Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Kansas
Two power suppliers wanting to construct 1,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and new substations in Colorado and Kansas are refining the routes for the project, officials said last week. Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and the Western Area Power Administration are teaming on the Eastern Plains Transmission Project, which will cost anywhere from $8 million to $1 billion. Randy Wilkerson, a public affairs specialist for Western, said that based on comments from the public during meetings held in September in the affected areas, proposed and alternative routes for the lines have been changed. “We have changed the routes somewhat - we have also began doing some analysis on those routes, looking at them based on 47 different criteria,” Wilkerson said. Wilkerson said among the standards are engineering characteristics, which includes cost and how many miles of line, and land use issues. “All those things have been analyzed. The land-use portion analyzes whether the lines are going through rangeland (or) irrigated crop land and how many residences it’s going by,” Wilkerson said. “We are trying to find a route that has the least impact overall.”
The prospect of more wind turbines on Kansas prairies drew a mix of environmental groups and ranchers into a Statehouse debate Wednesday. After hearing their testimony, House Energy and Utilities Committee took no action on House Bill 2492, which would require a new public hearing process to inform county residents of wind developers’ plans. It also would create a new procedure for public protest petitions on wind turbine placement. The House panel could decide Friday whether to send the bill to the full House.
Responding to opponents of a new wind farm planned in the state’s Smoky Hills, Topeka Rep. Annie Kuether said Thursday she’ll sponsor a bill placing new requirements on wind project developers. But another lawmaker, who represents residents in the Smoky Hills, said he doubted the measure would pass. “I don’t think it’s doable at all,” said Rep. Josh Svaty, D-Ellsworth. “As long as you have a willing buyer and a willing seller and it doesn’t pose any harm to any adjacent landowners, we as a Legislature have no business getting involved in those transactions.”
In about a year, drive west along Interstate 70 and you will probably see 56 wind turbines dotting the Kansas prairie. TradeWind Energy president Rob Freeman told members of the House Utilities and Economics Committee on Thursday that phase one of the Smoky Hills project would be complete by the end of 2007.
The Flint Hills and Smoky Hills are the last largest pieces of contiguous Tallgrass and Mixed Prairie left in North America. They are recognized as “World Class Grasslands” and cannot be duplicated, replaced, or repaired to its original form once it is destroyed. This point was stressed by opponents of the wind farm who attended the afternoon session with the County Commissioners. Speakers included: Virgil Huseman, Zack Grothusen, Rob Manes, Liz and Steve Donley, Ron Klataske, Wayne Bohl, Scott Bohl, Rose Bacon, Mary Jo Huseman, Joan Bohl, Melinda Boeken and Anne Grothusen. Rob Manes of the Nature Conservancy and Ron Klataske of the Audubon Society of Kansas also spoke on behalf of the groups they represent to keep turbines off undisturbed native prairie. The opponents asked that the County Commissioners place a moratorium on the construction of the wind farm until they are fully informed of the consequences of allowing a wind farm to be built in the Smoky Hills which is pristine prairie grass. Rose Bacon who hails from Cottonwood Falls and served on the Governor’s Wind and Prairie Task Force presented information on “industrial wind utility” developments and siting issues associated with them.
Many see a plan for large wind turbines along Interstate 70 in Lincoln and Ellsworth counties as an environmental disaster in the making.
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius proposed tax cuts for businesses and promised the state will be more aggressive in promoting energy conservation and wind power as she outlined her legislative agenda Wednesday night...........Sebelius also said her goal is to have wind provide 10 percent of the state’s electricity by 2010, doubling that figure by 2020. She said her proposed budget will contain money to allow for planning new transmission lines to deliver wind-generated electricity. “There’s no reason our state should not lead the nation in wind energy,” she said.
While green may have been a prominent color of the past holiday season, it’s also a color the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities is interested in for the future. In a work session prior to the regular meeting of the BPU Board of Directors Wednesday, the board heard about the specifics of a new contract signed by General Manager Don Gray committing to buy 25 megawatts of wind power capacity from TradeWind Energy,LLC, a Lenexa, Kan.-based wind farm developer.
Sunflower Electric Power Corporation has announced it has completed negotiations with TradeWind Energy for the purchase of 50.4 megawatts of energy generated by wind turbines at its Smoky Hills Wind Farm. The project site is located 25 miles west of Salina, just north of Interstate Highway 70 between Ellsworth and Lincoln.
Deb Colle, Delmore Township, presented a letter regarding the approved regulations to Gamesa's Commercial Wind Energy Project resolution written by Larry and Pat Weibert, Bonaville Township, to county commissioners during a recent Board of McPherson County Commissioners meeting. The letter's purpose was to convince county commissioners to keep the moratorium in place regarding wind farm turbines and for them to take more time to listen to what Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and officials from the Kansas Corporation Commission and the Department of Kansas Wildlife and Parks say about wind energy. The letter suggested commissioners should also consider those who will be affected by the wind turbines.
Gamesa's Commercial Wind Energy Project resolution regulations were recently passed at a Board of McPherson County Commissioners meeting. Gamesa is considering the usage of 8,000 acres in McPherson County for the construction of a wind farm. Angela Krummel-Buzard, McPherson's planning and zoning administrator, reassured the commissioners of the proper procedures for prescribed burning in case a fire breaks out on the wind farm. A review of the resolution was needed for further questioning and to discuss two recent changes to the resolution. Steph Wiley, Gamesa's director of development, said Gamesa has several pending projects. She said the corporation has not made a decision on submitting a conditional-use permit for McPherson County.
The committee decided to include additional information to Section G, regarding decommissioning, restoration and abandonment for item No. 1 under letter AA. It will now state “Applicant shall submit a decommissioning plan describing the manner in which the CWEP will be dismantled and removed from the site at the end of its useful life. “All aboveground components of the CWEP shall be removed unless at the landowners request the land is left intact. Foundations shall be removed to the owner’s satisfaction unless the landowner allows for the access roads and or foundations to remain.”
Angela Krummel-Buzard, McPherson planning and zoning administrator, and C. Bickley Foster, a planning consultant, presented a proposal for the resolution pertaining to regulations regarding commercial and energy projects. The electric wind farm station regulation proposal was discussed during the McPherson County planning board and board of zoning appeals meeting Monday.
Ford County will soon be able to harness the Kansas wind with the construction of a wind farm north of Spearville.
The regulations also have guidelines to follow. Among the guidelines is limiting location. Wind turbines cannot be placed in the following: areas that have potential for biological and/or environmental conflicts, where there are large and intact areas of native vegetation, in places that would interfere with important wildlife movement corridors and staging areas, sites that are readily visible from state-designated scenic byways or popular vistas, sites that require construction activities on steep slopes and sites with potentially sensitive cultural or historical resources.
LINDSBORG — Three opponents of large-scale wind farms explained their reasons Tuesday night in Lindsborg to a group of about 50 people.
Dr. Lee Allison, director of the science and energy policy office for Governor Kathleen Sebelius, presented information on a topic that is circulating much controversy these days in McPherson County -- wind energy.
Rose Bacon, member of the Governor's Energy Task Force and a rancher who owns property in the Flint Hills, spoke about the vulnerability of communities facing proposals from international companies that want to build commercial wind farms in rural areas. She pointed to the lack of “teeth” in regulations, and the attractive tax write-offs granted to wind energy companies, and the inexperience of local officials in dealing with such monstrous deals, depicting a state-wide scenario akin to the “wildcatter days in the oil business.”
Manhattan (Kansas) benefits greatly from the scenic and intrinsic values of Flint Hills ranching landscapes and the from the stewardship of ranch landowners who struggle to preserve a way of life in the Flint Hills in Riley County and the two adjacent counties to the south and southeast.
there are few if any places in the entire Midwest more worthy of preservation as an example of the great Midwestern prairie than those Wabaunsee County vistas