Articles from Kansas
A proposed wind farm project drew more objections Monday as 14 people showed up at county commission meeting to be heard.
Lawmakers in the House Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications are considering a bill introduced by Rep. Randy Garber, R-Sabetha, that would require any new turbines to be placed at least 1.5 miles from a residence and 3 miles from an airport, park or hunting area.
A company hoping to develop a wind farm in the southern portion of the county faced daunting challenges at Tuesday’s county commission meeting when a standing-room-only crowd turned out to speak in opposition to the proposed project — at least right now.
More than 50 observers packed the House Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee hearing as property owners and others complained about the effect of wind farms and accused county officials of failing to stand up to large energy corporations. Those companies will have a chance to counter in a hearing scheduled for Thursday. Rep. Randy Garber, R-Sabetha, said he introduced House Bill 2273 on behalf of his constituents.
What appears to be a plan to harvest clean energy in the Wichita area has been shut down — at least for the next 6 months — while county commissioners gather more information. But a bill introduced in the Kansas House might make the delay a moot point.
Legislation that would set minimum setbacks for commercial wind turbines in Kansas at 1 ½ miles from residential homes is scheduled to be heard by a House committee next week.
The commissioners did, however, address the topic of a signing a moratorium resolution, which would put the project on pause for 60 days. At last week’s meeting, it was requested by Will Eisenbise and Brad Lueger – two representatives for the concerned citizens group of Nemaha County – for the commissioners to give a response to the moratorium resolution in one week. Scoby said that the commission will not be making a decision on a moratorium yet.
Commission chairman David Dennis called for the moratorium after attending a Reno County meeting last year that resulted in approval for a wind farm project. He said he left that meeting with more questions than answers, and he said Sedgwick County does not have a set of rules for any kind of alternative energy projects.
Adams said bats are being killed by the millions by wind turbines. ...the bats are drawn to the turbines, where they are either struck or killed by a low pressure field that surrounds the turbines. “When you go out and you are driving and you think ‘How majestic,’ in my head I think ‘It is a death count,’ ” Adams said. “It’s really awful.”
That's critical in this fat cat, tax-credit fueled industry which, more and more, depends on secrecy as much as it does a steady breeze. Wind farm developers like to point to thousands of lease holders at projects across the country and how few complaints they have about their gigantic neighbors, but they never mention the source of all that satisfaction – prosecution and financial ruination due to gag clauses in those signed leases and easement agreements. Indeed, where you can keep control of the smoke, there's no evidence of a fire.
Representatives of a proposed electric generation project assured spectators Thursday evening that property values would not decrease and noise would not be a major issue. ...An audience member cited a report with a negative impact of 25 to 40 percent. Project opponent LeRoy Burk provided the report, which was reviewed by Neosho County Appraiser Bob McElroy, who said there would be an impact but he did not agree with a specific amount.
Apex Clean Energy, the developer of the Neosho Ridge wind energy project, on Wednesday released a lengthy economic impact report.
They’ve also spent hundreds of millions of dollars building wind farms and transmission lines to get the power to market, in order to meet a state mandate that 20 percent of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2020. That goal has already been met, although the state Legislature has since repealed the requirement.
City staffers said they had been in the process of reviewing Westar’s offer but had not been able to determine — before all the wind energy was spoken for — whether it was a good idea, according to a city staff memo to the commission.
The discussion on the proposed Neosho Ridge wind project filled the courtroom at the Neosho County courthouse to capacity, but was less dramatic than previous commission meetings. A representative of Apex Clean Energy, developers of the project, had 30 minutes to make a presentation, then a representative of non-participating landowners had 30 minutes to present the opponents’ concerns.
A big draw to Kansas is the hunting and fishing opportunities, Shaw said, so he said the lake board likely would be concerned about the planned wind farm. He urged the city to oppose wind turbines being built so close to the lake
Opponents of a planned wind generation facility in southwest Neosho County told commissioners Friday morning that the issue will go to court. They also pushed for an absent commissioner to vote on the measure. ...Some opponents said the developer, Apex Clean Energy, is moving ahead with the project until it is too late to prevent it.
His fellow commissioners rejected the attempt by County Commissioner Dan Deming on Tuesday to give more formal direction to the Reno County planning board before it takes up an anticipated application for the Pretty Prairie Wind Farm.
Resident Kristy Horsch presented a petition to the commission calling for a moratorium she said was gathered over the weekend – and contained more than 700 signatures. Of those signing, 534, or about three-fourths, reside within Reno County. The rest were near the county lines in Sedgwick and Kingman counties, who would also be impacted by wind turbines. She also handed the commission a separate 3-inch wide binder she said was an economic impact study by residents “that demonstrates a negative impact to the county with this project.”
NextEra could meet a minimum 2,000-foot setback from any occupied residences ...It could not, however, meet a proposed 2,500 foot or nearly half-mile setback requirement within the existing proposed footprint ...Requiring a 2,500-foot setback “could jeopardize the project,” because several proposed turbine sites involve smaller – just 5 or 10 acre – pieces of ground.