Library from Kansas
At Thursday's Hays City Commission work session, commissioners discussed the possibility of extending a moratorium on wind development until April 1. The Hays Area Planning Commission has been working to develop guidelines regulating wind-energy development for about six months and has requested a time extension.
The commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution adopting an amendment to the county code that will lay out rules and regulations for wind farms that would produce energy for sale. The county code already allows for private wind facilities.
In response to protected airspace issues around the Pratt Industrial Airport, Indeck Energy Services will continue its efforts to develop a wind generation facility but in a different location. "We're still going to go ahead and try to develop a wind farm more to the west and north than where it was is light of the airport airspace," said Kent Goyen, area liaison for Indeck. Indeck's original proposal called for 100 towers each 400 feet tall within a 16,000-acre space northwest of Iuka.
The Saline County Commission on Tuesday cleared the way for commercial wind farms to operate within the county. ...The commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution adopting an amendment to the county code that will lay out rules and regulations for wind farms that would produce energy for sale. The county code already allows for private wind facilities.
In a unanimous vote Monday, the Hays Area Planning Commission approved a recommendation to indefinitely extend a moratorium on wind energy development within city limits. This recommendation will be presented to Hays city commissioners at a later date for final approval. Jesse Rohr, planning and development superintendent, suggested the recommendation for a moratorium extension of several months.
Legal proceedings have been postponed in a civil lawsuit challenging the Ellis County Commission's decision to approve a wind farm development southwest of Hays. According to Russell attorney Dennis Davidson, who represents the county commission, proceedings for a case management conference will continue at 3 p.m. Nov. 25. ...The process was postponed in light of a disagreement about how much evidence the plaintiffs are allowed to gather, he said.
An estimated 266 whoopers - the largest wild flock of endangered whooping cranes - will migrate from Wood Buffalo National Park in the Canadian Northwest Territories to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf Coast of Texas this fall. This migration route takes them directly through the center of the Central Flyway ...threats to the flock, including water and land development in Texas, wind farm construction in the migration corridor, and tar sands waste ponds in Canada all increased in 2008.
In recent weeks, though, energy experts have also noted that a squeeze in credit and collapsing oil and natural gas prices, both byproducts of a worldwide financial crisis, could stifle the further growth of renewable energy. Industry observers and companies operating in the state, however, say the chances are good that the production of wind power will keep growing in Kansas. ...Tighter credit markets could make it more difficult for wind developers to secure financing for their projects. Plus, lower natural gas prices could give utilities less incentive to invest in wind turbines, some renewable energy boosters fear.
Imagine an interstate highway stretching from Wichita west to Dodge City, then heading south-southwest from Medicine Lodge to the Kansas/Oklahoma line. Then replace that image with a high-voltage energy transmission line that will become part of a multi-state "super highway," designed to help Kansas access power markets ...Kansas' wind farms are driving the need for high-voltage lines that will allow the state to access other power markets, said Kelly Harrison, vice president for transmission operations and environmental services for Westar.
Good news arrived in the mail for members of the Ridge Road Wind Farm Coalition when they received a second contract from a multinational corporation wanting to develop a wind farm on their land. ...Following an attorney's suggestion, the landowners banded together in a hope to secure equitable contracts. They made a list of common requests. ...The first contract offered landowners 2 percent of the profit from a wind turbine on their property, with the length of the lease to be 40 years. The second contract offered 1 percent more, but it extended the life of the lease another 10 years.
The Ford County Commission authorized a company Monday to move forward with plans for a wind farm in the county's southeast corner. The commission voted 3-0 to approve a conditional use permit and development plan for Western Trail Wind Project I, following a recommendation by the Ford County Zoning Board. The company has already acquired the land for the wind farm, which will be located south of Bucklin and move west toward Kingsdown as it expands. ...Project details are still vague.
Wind energy is considered beneficial because of the reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, air pollutants and hazardous wastes as well as a decrease in the reliance of foreign energy. It's controversial however, because it's more than three times more expensive than traditional energy sources, such as coal, and far less reliable. ..."We believe a better option would be to send price signals to the market that encourage those renewables that can produce electricity during peak demand periods and that are built closer to the urban or load centers," [Linowes] said.
Wind project developer, owner, and operator Horizon Wind Energy will offset the effects of its new wind farm in north central Kansas by investing in a 20,000 acres of offsite habitat restoration to benefit grassland birds, especially the greater prairie-chicken. Horizon Wind Energy signed the conservation investment agreement Wednesday with the Ranchland Trust of Kansas and The Nature Conservancy of Kansas.
As a civil lawsuit seeking to overturn the Ellis County Commission's decision to permit a wind farm southwest of Hays makes its way through the court system, Hays Wind LLC will act as a co-defendant. The company, represented by Hays attorney Mel Sauer and Wichita attorney Jay Fowler, will join Ellis County in defending allegations brought forth by the 41 plaintiffs, represented by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes. "The motion to intervene was granted," said attorney Dennis Davidson, who represents the Ellis County Commission.
Construction on a new 72-tower wind farm in Thomas County could begin before the end of the year. A second wind farm is being planned for Hamilton County by Acconia Energy North America, a subsidiary of Acconia, based in Madrid, Spain. Both projects still are on the drawing board, so details likely will change before construction begins, according to Eric Schneider, director of marketing and communications for Acconia. Schneider said he is a Topeka native living in Chicago.
Energy was one of several hot issues discussed Saturday, as mayors from across northwest Kansas gathered in Hays for an annual Northwest Kansas Mayors Association summit. ...Bill Dowling, vice president of energy management and supply at Midwest Energy, also discussed the importance of multiple energy sources, and explained how diversity affects the power pool. While wind development is good -- and on the increase -- production from this resource is not always stable, he said.
The Ellis County Commission and Hays Wind LLC have filed their responses to a civil lawsuit filed Aug. 26 regarding a conditional-use permit granted for a wind farm southwest of Hays. The suit was filed on behalf of 44 plaintiffs hoping to reverse the commission's decision to issue a conditional use permit and approve the development plan for the project. The appeal, filed by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes, alleges the conditional-use permit application and development plan submitted by Hays Wind were incomplete.
Three groups of developers are taking a look at Marshall County as a possible site for a wind farm, according to Marysville Mayor Bernie Krug. Krug said the interest was only in the initial exploration phase and developers' names would not be released until they express interest in pursuing a project.
Construction on a new 72-tower wind farm in Thomas County could begin before the end of the year. A second wind farm is being planned for Hamilton County by Acconia Energy North America, a subsidiary of Acconia, based in Madrid, Spain. Both projects still are on the drawing board, so details likely will change before construction actually begins ...
The interest of wind development companies has received a mostly warm welcome in Saline County, he said. "We were initially very excited to see that someone else thinks we have something of value above our land," Pryor said. But landowners are proceeding cautiously, he said. Part of Saline County's attraction to potential developers, he said, is that no one in the county has signed away their wind energy rights. Those contracts tend to last for several decades and are therefore nothing to be taken lightly, he said.