Library filed under General from Kansas
We would all like to find a clean, renewable answer to our energy needs. Wind turbines don’t provide that answer.
Glenn Schleede views a recent report by the "Kansas Energy Council" as illustrative of how state as well as federal officials create bad policy by failing to examine the true costs and benefits of their proposed policies. Examining the Kansas situation in great detail, this report focuses on the real costs of wind in a manner that has broad applicability to any government body considering wind energy.
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.
Given its location, Gray County would have displaced mostly NGCC and some oil fired generation. Using the average 2003 NGCC heatrate for the sub-powerpool (7,478 Btu/kWh) and the average CO2 content of natural gas (116 #CO2/MMBtu), the project may have displaced only 158,000 tons of CO2 in 2003 (0.00207% of 2003 US estimated emissions according to the USDOE report entitled Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States, 2003 (issued December 13, 2004). (Note in 2002, the output was less and it would have displaced only 140,000 tons).
“America can't afford to have an energy policy that's tailored to what's "in" politically. We need to focus our efforts on expanding meaningful alternatives to fossil fuels that can have a major impact on achieving energy security and reducing global warming.”
Scientists compare the environmental importance of the tallgrass prairie to that of the rainforest. Its roots act as a carbon sink, cleansing the air of pollution. Its plants and limestone soils purify rainwater. Per acre, it provides more environmental benefits than any other ecosystem in North America.
With increasing resistance to wind turbine industrialization in Europe and other U.S. states, it makes no public policy sense to allow the Flint Hills to be ripped up while people throughout the world voice concern about the negative impact of industrial wind turbines on the general health and welfare of inhabitants.
There is less than 4% of native tallgrass prairie left in North America, and two-thirds of it is right here. Once you have experienced the spaciousness and exceptional beauty of open native grasslands, you know there is nothing in the world quite like it. These native grasslands are truly a national as well as a Kansas treasure.
Money will not purchase balm for our eyes or salve for the spirit: a place of beauty provides these. The Flint Hills provides.
He had been charmed by the spirit of our grassland, and kept coming back.
We should not let wind power's "green" image trick us into abandoning the principle that some places and some species should be saved for their own sakes. We should reject the argument that everything must be "useful," that every place and every aspect of life should be commercialized.
Although my research started with the visual and spatial aspects of WECSs, and continues to be focused on WECSs effects on “landscape character” i.e. impacts on the spatial environment, with implications for cultural values and social systems of our region. I am equally concerned about the predictable negative effects of WECSs on the natural systems of the Flint Hills. I am concerned about serious cumulative effects and the degradation of: the visual character of our environment; the social fabric of communities that are facing the prospect of WECS-C; the health of biological, ecological components of our regional ecosystem; and the long term viability of our local, increasingly “nature-based” economy.
A review of the issues related to wind farm development.
Wind energy development will not impact the land. Don't be misled. Utility-scale wind energy is industrial development, plain and simple. Remember, these 21st-century wind machines aren't like grandpa's windmill. Fact is, the turbines being proposed in the Flint Hills stand taller than the Statue of Liberty (350 feet and taller)! Industrial-strength wind projects will entail miles of roads and trenched powerlines, and quarrying down 30 feet to make room for about 50 truck loads of concrete to anchor each turbine...and more....
The benefits of wind farms are dubious and undemonstrated. Going headlong into the business of wind farming, either for the revenue or the energy, is less than responsible.
What's the matter with Kansas? For one thing, The Wichita Eagle.
Resolving Our Cultural Identity Crisis: Agriculture vs. Environment "...this concept of preserving land in private hands has become a great theme of our region. Our Flint Hills culture has rested on this principle: that we want our land to remain agriculturally productive in private hands, namely producing high quality beef cattle, at the same time we preserve the Flint Hills much as they were hundreds of years ago."
Promoters of the wind energy craze, absentee landowners and a few locals hoping for a windfall are about to destroy the soul of the Flint Hills.
The Sacred Hills, by Don Coldsmith, a Bantam Books paperback, copyright 1998. Courtesy Protect The Flint Hills website. For whatever reason, perhaps because we feel closer to the divine or perhaps from a hill we can see farther and with greater clarity, human beings of all cultures seem spiritually drawn to high places. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help,” sang the psalmist: for Looks Far that statement was literally true. It was from a hilltop that the bison stampede both destroyed his enemies and provided winter food for his tribe. More important, it was the Sacred Hills that brought together, for the first time, two warring tribes; love for land proved stronger than human animosities. The Flint Hills were indeed a holy place for the People.