News report from KTKA TV49 in Kansas:
Duration 1 minute 40 seconds
Transcript: Disappearance of native prairie chickens linked to wind farms
Windmills have dotted the Kansas countryside for well over a century, but now a bigger more powerful breed is sprouting up.
Steve Trent is concerned.
"There's going to be people who make a lot of money off this, and the rest of us are going to suffer," he said.
Trent lives next to a 100 turbine wind farm in Butler County.
These farms are touted as good for the environment because they create power without creating air pollution, but Trent says they harm the planet in other ways.
"There's an environmental footprint that they make," he said.
Trent says that footprint has stomped out the native prairie chickens which have disappeared, and they have also destroyed the area's natural beauty.
Now he's wondering if that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Just as a coal power plant consumes coal to create energy, the giant windmills consume wind. That means they literally eat it up, sucking energy out of the atmosphere.
If more and more of these things are built, what will that mean for the planet?
"I think it's one of those hypothetical questions that pops into your mind and maybe there will be reason to know the answer to it," Wichita State University Professor and Mechanical Engineer David Koert said
Koert says the wind farms we have now are not nearly big enough to make a difference.
However, he says massive amounts of wind turbines in any given area could possibly alter the climate.
"Would it be more rain, less rain, gentler winds, you just don't know. but yeah, there could be an effect," Koert said.
Trent says he hasn't noticed any weather changes where he lives, but says has seen enough to know wind farms can generate problems for the planet.