Articles filed under General from Kansas
The fate of a proposed wind energy generation facility at Fort Hays State University remains uncertain. Members of the Hays Area Planning Commission discussed the proposed two-tower project at their Monday evening meeting, but no recommendation was made. FHSU has requested the commission to modify existing city ordinances.
Donica Creek, LLC, is working on getting commitments from Kansas-area landowners for the construction of an approximately 100 megawatt wind farm. If all goes as planned, construction of the 55 or 56 wind turbines will begin in the first quarter of 2011.
With no public opposition voiced Wednesday night, the Ellis County Joint Planning Commission recommended approval of a conditional-use permit for the installation of 18 wind turbines for Hays Wind LLC. The turbines have been relocated since Hays Wind's previous CUP application in 2008 as the result of mediation of a lawsuit involving neighboring landowners.
More than 60 landowners in southwest Ellis County and southeast Trego County have organized to market their land for wind development. The group, which calls itself Butterfield Wind, is working with Bannister Capital Advisors, headed up locally by attorney and Fort Hays State University dean Mark Bannister.
As the result of a settlement last year involving Hays Wind, Ellis County and 21 plaintiffs, 15 turbines in the project area had to be relocated. Hays Wind, owned by Iberdrola Renewables, has proposed 18 turbines in its permit application, but is requesting approval of only 15, according to spokeswoman Jan Johnson.
Garden City - Several new wind farms may be cropping up in the area, allowing Kansas to capitalize on the free-blowing breeze in a state officials say has the second-most potential for wind power in the country.
A wind-energy trade group is blasting a federal regulatory decision that will let Westar Energy impose additional charges on wind producers when the renewable energy is exported to other states. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the charges, saying they were just and reasonable to help Westar manage wind power on the electric grid.
The Ellis County Commission unanimously approved road maintenance, payment-in-lieu-of-taxes and decommissioning agreements between the county and Hays Wind LLC on Monday night. All three agreements are pending approval by Hays Wind representatives. ...The PILOT replaces property tax collection on the project, which is exempt under state law.
Ellis County commissioners said Monday night they would meet in open session with Counselor Dennis Davidson at next week's meeting to discuss a few final details with decommissioning, road maintenance and payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreements. "We're at the point now where we know what we need as a county," Commission Chairman Perry Henman said.
The one piece of business discussed by the commission came from Commissioner Keith Campbell. Mr. Campbell proposed that the commission adopt a bylaw which said that when considering board business, if a commissioner "anticipated the opportunity" to personally benefit by the action of the board in the value of $1000 or more, that commissioner should publicly state that. ...Because of the avowed interest of some current and past members of the zoning commission in securing personal contracts with corporations seeking to put wind energy conversion systems in Ellis County, some members of the public were interested in greater transparency in the operation of the zoning board.
In a case pitting the beauty of the Flint Hills against large wind farms, the Flint Hills won. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday in favor of a zoning ordinance in Wabaunsee County that prohibits commercial wind farms. Poised as the third best state in the country for wind power and on the cusp of a renewable energy revolution, Kansas has the potential to be at the epicenter of the wind industry.
In the last six months, I have devoted most of my time to wind energy because of all the recent development activity in the region. Part of my program entails delivering seminars and workshops on the topic. It always surprises me the false impressions or myths that some people have about wind energy and its potential.
The following letter was posted on the Kansas Prairie blog by Peg Britton. It was sent to Ms. Britton from Dennis Farney, a retired writer for the Wall Street Journal who lives in Kansas City and has great love for Kansas. The material in his letter offers insight on how some environmental organizations view Kansas.
How about this for a new state slogan: Kansas, not as windy as you think? A study of long-term wind speed trends suggests just that - winds across the United States, in Kansas and a few other states in particular, have been steadily decreasing since 1973. The study, to be published in August in the Journal of Geophysical Research, is the first of its kind in the U.S. Using data from wind monitors, the study found that winds had slowed across the U.S. by about 10 percent over 30 years.
Details about how much local government money could flow to the proposed Siemens Wind Power plant in Hutchinson have not fully emerged. And that could amount to a violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. ...However, the contract between Siemens and the participating parties - to include Reno County and the cities of Hutchinson and South Hutchinson - continues to be finalized in secret.
Wind power is booming -- at the moment. Companies are flocking to build turbine and blade plants in the United States, such as the one Siemens will build in Hutchinson. The amount of energy harvested from wind rose 50 percent last year to 25,300 megawatts. For the people in the ethanol industry, it must sound sadly like deja vu.
There's been a major shift in the direction of Hutchinson's Sunflower Wind, but company officials say production at the wind turbine manufacturing plant is still on the horizon. Rather than the planned 2.5-megawatt turbines with 180-foot-long blades, the company is working to produce 100-kilowatt wind turbines that require only low wind speeds to power small commercial buildings, schools, hospitals or industrial plants.
The message Thursday evening was loud and clear: Adjustments need to be made to the location of a proposed power line stretching from Spearville to Hays. The reasons for moving the lines varied, however, from aesthetics to interfering with a proposed wind farm in central Rush County. It was just as clear that landowners don't consider a one-time, up-front lump payment for easements as fair.
Plaintiffs contacted by The Hays Daily News, however, say they have not signed the document, with at least one implying their intent is to do so. While some question has been posed as to whether the county commission should have made the document public before the other signatures were obtained, Davidson said it was within the county's rights to take action.
In a unanimous decision at Monday's meeting, Ellis County Commissioners endorsed terms of settlement in a lawsuit regarding a wind farm southwest of Hays. While commissioners said the settlement could bring closure to the hotly disputed wind farm controversy, lawsuit plaintiffs might not be so sure.