Articles filed under General from Kansas
After years of discussion and a lengthy legal battle, it appears Ellis County soon could be home to a 200-megawatt wind farm. In a unanimous decision, the Ellis County Commission today approved a settlement in the case of Davis v. Ellis County regarding a proposed project southwest of Hays. The agreement holds that the conditional-use permit commissioners granted for the project is lawful and enforceable, meaning the wind farm could proceed.
A high-voltage power line unlike any seen this side of the Mississippi River soon could be striding across southwestern Kansas. Cable bundles as thick as pickup tires and bearing 765,000 volts would bind the ever-more-productive wind fields of Kansas to outside markets. The project, estimated to be worth up to $800 million, is still up for grabs between two competing groups that could get the lines up and humming by 2013. ...Nearly 1,012 megawatts from wind turbines will be available by the end of 2009, but 7,000 megawatts are proposed for western Kansas by 2030.
An energy company hoping to establish a wind farm in Pratt County will have to keep its 400-foot towers about three and a half miles from approaches to the Pratt Industrial Airport, but that news should come as no surprise to Indeck Energy Services.
Much of the discussion at a wind energy forum Tuesday night at Fort Hays State University revolved around the same arguments both proponents and opponents of the alternative energy in Ellis County have maintained all along. The one thing the forum's three panelists could agree on was that reducing energy consumption is needed.
Nikki Schwerdfeger won't believe it until she sees the blades spinning. The Hamilton County landowner remains cautiously optimistic about the proposed 135-megawatt wind farm about to be developed near her rural Coolidge home. One of the landowners who signed a lease for erecting wind turbines on their property, she has yet to learn if any of the around 90, 262-foot-tall turbines will spin on her land.
Representatives of British Petroleum Wind Energy are wooing Pratt County farmers to use their land for development of a possible wind farm in Pratt County while BP is finishing preparations to put their Flat Ridge Wind Farm with 40 wind turbines into operation in Barber County.
ITC Great Plains has revised its route for a proposed transmission line running through Ellis County, but it's not due to the location of a proposed wind project in the area. After the company received public input in December, it opted to change its preferred route to run farther west than originally anticipated. The line would run through the proposed Hays Wind LLC project west of Yocemento Road.
Plaintiffs seeking to overturn a conditional use permit granted to allow development of a wind farm southwest of Hays have filed a motion for summary judgment in district court. The motion, filed Tuesday, includes the plaintiff's legal interpretations as to why granting the permit was legally unsound on the part of the Ellis County Commissioners, who granted the permit last summer in a 2-1 vote.
A new company has expressed interest in developing a wind project in Ellis County. TradeWind Energy, the developer of the Smoky Hill Wind Project in Lincoln and Ellsworth counties, has requested four conditional-use permits to build meteorological towers in the northeast part of the county. ...Any wind project developed in the area near the Saline River would be no less than 150 megawatts, Weigel said.
Legislators involved in energy policy are upset state regulators plan to take another year to decide which of two competing companies will build the region's highest-voltage power lines. The Republican chairmen and ranking Democrats on the House and Senate utilities committees said Friday that they are worried such a delay will prevent the development of wind farms.
A major wind energy company is looking into building a wind farm northeast of Cheney Reservoir in Reno County. Horizon Wind Energy of Houston has met with landowners in the area and is in the process of mailing out initial offers for land leases, according to landowners.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Opponents of a proposed wind farm southwest of Hays filed a lawsuit in Ellis County District Court on Tuesday seeking to reverse the decision to issue a conditional-use permit. The lawsuit did not, however, ask for any type of restraining order. The case was filed by Wichita attorney Patrick Hughes on behalf of 44 plaintiffs -- a virtual who's who of residents living in the area surrounding the proposed wind farm -- against the Ellis County Commission.