Articles filed under Impact on Landscape from Oklahoma
“They’re eating up the landscape,” he said. “They’re devouring our history and culture.” ...“We are pitiful and humble people, asking for your help,” Cameron Pratt prayed out loud, first in the Osage language and then in English, his voice nearly drowned out by the constant drone of the whirling blades. They sound like an aircraft passing high overhead, except the aircraft never flies away.
Hidden in an unknown corner of Inner Mongolia is a toxic, nightmarish lake created by our thirst for smartphones, consumer gadgets and green tech, discovers Tim Maughan.
Oklahoma faces a budget shortfall of at least $300 million that could easily exceed $500 million. Yet we’re blowing up to $193 million annually on subsidies for industrial wind companies. That money would be better spent funding core government services such as education.
Apex Clean Energy wants to bring a $470 [million] dollar project with a promise of 200 jobs. But some residents weren’t hypnotized by the idea of five hundred foot units around town, possibly creating noise and an eye sore. Those concerns launched a 15 month battle.
The preserve itself has grown to 39,100 acres. But that's only a fraction of the 3.8-million-acre region known as the Flint Hills, straddling the Oklahoma-Kansas state line with the largest remaining patch of tallgrass prairie on the continent. ...While wind power generates clean energy, the vast networks of turbines, roads and power grids can disturb a natural ecosystem just as much as any other industrialization, Hamilton says.
Nine landowners concerned about OG&E putting transmission lines in bar ditches along their land voiced complaints to the Woodward County Commission Monday, saying the county needed to hold the energy company accountable. ...According to another land owner, concrete bases 20 feet deep are being constructed to hold the poles for the transmission lines. Klick said, "These poles are 80 feet tall. They have a detrimental value to everybody's land."
Purvine and John Oler, a landowner near Watonga, dispute that there was much negotiation. "They came to us and made an offer and said we would either take that offer or they would file eminent domain," Purvine said. "There was no recourse. That's the way it was." Oler, 64, said the OG&E representative essentially told him, "Do it our way, or we condemn you."
The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission recently voted to secure millions of dollars for conservation projects with OG&E and Tulsa-based NatureWorks as well as set important hunting regulations and dates for new seasons on black bear, antelope, elk and others. At its April meeting, the Commission approved a memorandum of agreement with OG&E. Through the agreement, OG&E will invest $3.75 million to help offset the impact of the "OU Spirit" wind farm on lesser prairie chickens and other wildlife in northwest Oklahoma.
The only people who don't like wind farms are the people who don't have one - that was the punch line of a humorous story T. Boone Pickens told the crowd at Revolution: Oklahoma Wind Conference on Tuesday. But on Wednesday, conference attendees heard from a few people who are concerned that the wind industry is growing too fast to fully account for its effect on the environment, the economy and a multitude of secondary issues.
Wind energy could supply up to 20 percent of the nation's power supply but the two variables few talk about are reliability and transmission. The places where the wind blows the most -- like western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle -- also have few residents or businesses that need the power. To achieve the kind of wind power percentage that some states are mandating will require between 12,000 and 19,000 miles of new power lines criss-crossing the country. That kind of power line construction will cost up to $6.4 billion.
Wind power is one of the solutions to our energy needs both here in Oklahoma and beyond, as well as providing a new industry and the jobs that support it. ...Also noteworthy is the potential for wind energy to be not so green after all. Wind farms, like any type of development, built on the wrong site can have a negative impact on the environment. Strides toward solving one conservation problem should not inadvertently cause another.
But not everyone is caught up in the wind power craze. Some people don't believe wind project developers are offering fair leases. Others don't like wind power projects simply because they spoil the view, and because they didn't know what was coming until construction crews arrived. There also are both environmental and wildlife concerns. ...Covey said that counties ought to consider protecting their residents by requiring zoning for wind development projects, but that he doesn't support the Legislature requiring the zoning, saying it's a county's choice. He added that all wind developers should hold town hall meetings for everyone near potential project areas so they can be informed.
Residents concerned about a plan for a massive power line are expected to crowd into a city council meeting Monday evening, Councilman John Brown said. Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. plans to build a 120-mile wind power transmission line from near Woodward to northwest Oklahoma City. ...Brown said he has taken dozens of telephone calls from residents who are upset about the power line, which will carry 345,000 volts of electricity atop 115-foot-tall poles.
From Woodward to northwest Oklahoma City, landowners are debating and bracing for the construction project. The power line is expected to carry 345,000 volts of electricity from wind turbines south of Woodward. The line will run southeast for about 120 miles to a power sub-station on NW 164 between Council Road and Rockwell Avenue. While wind power is expected to decrease the dependence on natural gas or coal to generate electricity, some ill winds are blowing down the line. Piedmont leaders are concerned OG&E's route will cut through the highest-valued property in their city limits and slow future growth. OG&E customers will foot the bill for the $211 million line by paying an extra $1.50 a month on their electric bill. A date to start construction has not been announced.
Wind farms will not be allowed on the state's public wildlife management areas. The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission voted unanimously Monday to prohibit wind energy development on all of the state's public wildlife management areas. Earlier this year, OG&E wanted to build a wind farm on the Cooper Wildlife Management Area near Woodward, property owned by the state Wildlife Department and used primarily for hunting. After public opposition from sportsmen, OG&E withdrew its request to the state Wildlife Department.
Construction of the enormous infrastructure needed to transform wind energy into electricity and move the power to market can have profound negative impacts on native habitat and wildlife resources. Some direct mortality can occur when birds or bats collide with rotating turbine blades or lines and towers, but by far the greatest impact comes from the displacement of prairie species by the tall structures, roadways, power lines and other development features associated with wind power generation and transmission. Another threat is for species such as the lesser prairie-chicken, which has declined to teetering on the precipice of listing under the Endangered Species Act. ...By placing wind power related structures within already disturbed sites, much of the natural resource impact and cost can be avoided. Such enlightened action can entail some increased up-front economic expense. So, the question becomes one of foresight versus short-term, economic expediency and continued natural resource decline.
There's an energy boom going on in the "oil patch" region of Oklahoma and Texas the likes of which has not been seen in decades. This time around, though, the prize isn't under our feet, it's in the swirling currents above our heads. A rapidly growing number of domestic and international energy companies have targeted western Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle with plans for massive wind farm projects. Nowhere is this more evident than on the sage-covered prairies of northwestern Oklahoma. Hundreds of wind turbines stretch like a giant picket fence across the landscape, towering above the game-rich high plains. At first glance it would seem to be a win-win for both the environment and society ...When it comes to energy production, however, you never get something for nothing. Case in point: as a result of this boom, one of the nation's top public land bobwhite quail hunting destinations may soon be covered with a network of roads, high-tension power lines, and wind turbines.
A new simulation finds serious and previously unrecognized environmental threats from massive wind farms in the American Great Plains. A recent study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research by scientists from Princeton and Duke Universities indicates massive wind farms would significantly increase local surface drying and soil heating, which in turn would impact agricultural or range use on or near the wind farm. The modeling experiment used current wind turbine and rotor technology to assess local climate impacts from a simulated wind farm with 10,000 turbines, arranged in a simple, square array of 100 by 100 turbines, each spaced one kilometer apart.