Articles filed under General from Kansas
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.
Iberdrola of Spain, owner of Elk River, realized over $9.9 million in PTC allowances in 2007. Foreign companies are not regulated by the Kansas Corporation Commission. There are no state or federal regulations of any kind on WECS. Few Kansas counties have wind regulations. WECS will force consumers to pay for their electricity three times; to build the WECS, build conventional power as backup, and additional transmission lines to carry power from the WECS to the grid. WECS will not produce large economic benefits to a community as evidenced by records from Gray County (Montezuma), or Butler County (Elk River). Elk River has produced seven jobs. Most employees live outside the community.
Some have stuff to lose while others have things to gain. Take T. Boone Pickens for example. He's "been an oil man his entire life," until he found wind. Why the sudden burst of what appears to be environmentalism? I don't know Pickens, but I do know this: Oil companies such as Exxon boast a profit margin of approximately 8 percent. Most estimates place his potential profit margin in industrial wind at or above 25 percent. It comes as no surprise, that being a good capitalist, Pickens wants in on wind. Why then does his campaign sound so political? That's easy: Without the government subsidies and tax breaks, industrial wind couldn't make money at all, let alone a 25 percent profit. Makes me think he's not so much concerned about transfers of wealth so long as the wealth transfers to his account. Without our money (the government) transferring to his account, wind isn't profitable, and without the profit he won't build, so he's depending on us to lobby the government. Sound familiar?
As Iberdrola's plans continue for a proposed wind farm west of Hays and two other wind farms in Ellis County, another company is pursuing plans for an operation north of town. Denver-based Invenergy Wind LLC is working to gauge landowner support, and has been encouraged by local interest, said Mark Jacobson, director of business development. ...The company also is eying other opportunities in the state of Kansas, but has made the Ellis County location its primary focus in the state, he said.
The request, for a restraining order and a writ of mandamus -- seeking to force the county to do its duty under zoning regulations -- had been made by Rod Bittel, who lives about a mile from where the wind farm would be located. Even though he denied the requests from Bittel and his attorney, Patrick Hughes, Wichita, Toepfer left open the door for additional action. "If either party is ultimately aggrieved by what the county commission does with regard to this application, then an appeal can be taken to the district court to determine if the action was not supported by the evidence or is otherwise arbitrary or capricious," the judge said in summing up his ruling.
The two companies vying to build the "V" line through southwest Kansas -- a new superhighway for electric transmission -- made their cases Friday to the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority in Wichita. The authority, which facilitates planning for the grid in Kansas, is waiting to see which company the Kansas Corporation Commission allows to build a line they hope will spur the continued rise of wind farms in western Kansas and help equalize electric rates for Kansans statewide. ...Kansas could be the first in the Midwest to see construction of a 765-kilovolt transmission line, noted Transmission Authority Chairman Carl Holmes, a legislator from Liberal. "I think it's significant," he said at Friday's meeting. "There's a good chance the first 765-line west of the Mississippi River will be built in Kansas." The line could be erected as a "V," from Spearville southeast into Barber County, then angling northeast into the Wichita area.
Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson assured Greenwood he'd have no problems with wind performance at the planned 99-megawatt wind farm being constructed east of Marienthal, between the town and the Scott County line and north of Kansas Highway 96. ...The wind is what brought Westar, which will own and operate the wind farm, and RES, which will construct it, to Kansas. ...Westar will be able to meet the energy needs of about 5 percent of its customers, according to Sterbenz. "This is the right place to put wind farms," he said of Kansas and Wichita County. "We want to build wind farms where people want wind farms."
Officials from Westar Energy and Renewable Energy Systems Americas will hold a ground-breaking ceremony at its Central Plains Wind Farm site in Wichita County. The site is expected to go online by the end of the year.
Mike Irvin, an attorney for the Kansas Farm Bureau Legal Foundation who spoke Tuesday at the fourth wind conference at the Scott County Fairgrounds, said energy companies aren't bad, but landowners must be aware of contracts and agreements before signing them. Irvin told about 100 people at the conference at the Scott City Fairgrounds that he knows farmers are independent people who might not want to discuss land issues with other farmers or attorneys. "Landowners and attorneys need to work together," Irvin said. "More people have more power. Put the independence away and consult attorneys."
Wind farm talk was blowing from a new direction Monday morning as Trego County Commissioners heard from Iberdrola Project Manager Krista Gordon. Gordon attended the weekly meeting to discuss plans for the tentatively dubbed Saline Wind Project, which the company hopes to develop north of Ellis in Ellis and Trego counties. A second project, the Chetolah Crossing Wind Project, planned for southwestern Ellis County, southeastern Trego County and northwestern Rush County, also was discussed. "I just wanted to introduce myself to you and make sure your board is aware that we're working in Trego County," she said.
Westar Energy and Electric Transmission America have banded together in hopes of building ultra-high capacity transmission lines between Wichita and the Spearville substation. The partnership, dubbed Prairie Wind Transmission, is expected to get under way after the company receives government approval for the project, according to a statement released by Westar Energy. ...[Westar's Kelly] Harrison said the lines would be the start of an interstate transmission "super highway" that would allow Kansas to export renewable energy resources to states that don't have similar options. Kansans could also access power markets across the region.
Generation Resources Holding Co. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday. The Leawood-based wind-energy project developer filed to rid itself of as much dischargeable debt as possible as the company has little in the way of personal property but owes nearly $6 million to creditors holding unsecured nonpriority claims. ...According to its Web site, the company was building or had built several wind-energy projects in Pennsylvania.
While there's a flurry of activity going on around the coal-fired power plant and its companion ethanol plant, there's virtually nothing happening on the wind farm proposed near Goodland. And there's little information being passed between the wind developer and the city of Goodland, which is all but on the hook to purchase power from Renewable Energy Resources. ...[Goodland City Manager Wayne] Hill isn't happy with the provisions of the contract, but he wasn't in his current position when the contract was signed. "It's not that I'm against wind," he said. But there are provisions in the contract that could jeopardize Goodland's power grid, notably power would go in at a lower voltage level than it is now.
The state's highest court has put on hold indefinitely its review of a regulator's decision blocking two coal-fired power plants in southwest Kansas. The Supreme Court plans to wait until legal challenges to the decision are considered first in district court and in administrative hearings involving the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. ... Spokesman Steve Miller said Sunflower wouldn't comment about the Supreme Court's action until its attorneys had a chance to review its order.
A large group of people gathered in Reading Tuesday evening to hear a presentation about wind energy. The panel of speakers included proponents and opponents of wind energy and people who were neutral on the issue. City and county officials from both Lyon and Osage Counties were present and helped organize the meeting, which was moderated by Lyon County Commission Chairman Scott Briggs. ...Wind energy will not lessen the country's dependence on oil, Bacon said. "The fact is that the U.S. uses less than three percent of its oil on electricity," she said. "Kansas uses less than one percent." Like Porter, Bacon cautioned landowners when it comes to leases. She said if landowners decide to sign a lease, they need to make sure they consult an attorney who has experience in wind energy leases. "This is a big-boy's game," she said. "Once you step into the wind world, you're not in Kansas anymore, figuratively speaking ... this is a very, very complex, intertwined business." Bacon talked about land impact regarding wind turbines and wind fields. Substantial roads have to be built, she said, with freight up to 100 tons. There has to be reliable electricity on site to power the turbines, which have to have a light on them and are run by a computer. "Wind turbines not only produce energy but will use energy," she said.
At a recent public meeting, someone said I was opposed to electricity produced by coal, nuclear, and hydro-as well as wind. Moreover, I was reminded that I was off the mark by saying wind technology could not prevent new conventional power plants from being built to meet increasing demand, pointing to a recent Parade magazine article reporting the governor of Kansas was building a 1000MW wind facility, obviating the need for a new coal plant. Here's reality. ...
Kansas City Power & Light has tabled plans to build in 2008 its second 100-megawatt wind farm, citing difficulties in getting financing. The wind farm was promised by KCP&L as part of a comprehensive energy plan that included the coal-fired Iatan 2 plant, under construction near Weston. The plan, announced last March by the utility and the Sierra Club, was hailed as the first of its kind and included building 400 megawatts of wind energy by 2012. The utility, which this week acknowledged construction cost overruns at Iatan 2, is putting off the wind project at a time when other utilities are stepping up their wind-energy construction. The decision also means KCP&L won't take advantage of federal wind energy tax credits that expire at the end of the year.
The best payoff for wind energy isn't in putting up a bunch of turbines, generating way more power than you'll ever use and selling juice back to the power company. Rather, it's in generating just a portion of your total power consumption, at least so long as power companies buy power at a fraction of what they charge for it. ...Brown explained that building enough generating capacity to run a school and selling back any excess power isn't really viable in Kansas right now because of the low rates utilities pay for that power.
In the Kansas Country Living, February 2008, Gov. Sebelius is said to have a personal goal set to "achieve 10 percent wind power by 2010." Someone outside the forever-tax-exempt, corporate-wind-farm, big-business-gifting-the-officials-with-scraps office do the math. How in the world can a governor party about the Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie Landscape (the last known one of its kind on earth) and party on the other hand with big business that is mutilating and hacking to pieces the very tallgrass we call a Wonder? One ridiculous wind farm destroyed 10,000 acres of significant ecological and scenic area of these precious grasses in Lincoln and Ellsworth counties.
Construction on the state's largest wind farm to date will begin next week near Concordia, signaling another step in the growth of renewable power in Kansas. But a coalition of wind energy and turbine companies told the state Senate Utilities Committee Tuesday morning that Kansas needs to signal greater desire on several fronts if it wishes to become a major player in the wind energy industry. ...Margy Stewart said the state needs to approach the issue with caution and carefully regulate where wind farms build. "These developments that are unthinkingly promoted will destroy native prairie," said Stewart, who represents the McDowell Creek Tourism Association in the Flint Hills. A bill to put state guidelines for wind-farm siting into law is expected to be considered by legislators sometime this session. However, developers are bullish on the prospects for thousands of new megawatts of wind power to flow from Kansas transmission lines.