Archive for Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Officials urge rise of wind energy, conservation in Kansas

Utilities would be given chance to recover costs

January 16, 2007


State energy officials Tuesday urged lawmakers to adopt measures to increase wind energy and promote conservation.

"We believe there are tremendous opportunities for the state," said Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, who serves as co-chair of the Kansas Energy Council.

Ken Frahm, the other co-chair, told the House Energy and Utilities Committee, that conservation alone in Kansas could erase the need for a new electric generation plant.

The Energy Council has recommended that the Legislature require that utilities provide customers with services that show how they can conserve energy.

In return, the utilities would be allowed to recover from customers the cost of conservation similar to the way they recover costs of building new plants.

The council also wants homes on the real estate market to come with energy cost disclosures, and it is encouraging the state to work with cities in developing minimum standards for energy efficiency in new home construction.

On renewable resources, Parkinson said the state has yet to live up to its wind-energy potential.

He said the state needs to promote the construction of transmission lines to move wind-generated electricity.

"We need to get started on that right now," he said, noting that it usually takes four to five years to construct a line.

And he said the state should guarantee that utilities can recover their operating costs in developing wind.

Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, a member of both the Energy Council and the Utilities Committee, said the state needs to work toward more wind and other forms of energy production.

"The state needs fuel diversification," he said.

He said although wind energy costs more than coal-produced electricity, it is becoming a more attractive investment because the costs of coal, transportation and materials to build coal plants are on the rise.

In her budget proposal, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has recommended that the state spend $1 million to spur construction of a transmission line for wind-generated electricity.

In addition, Sebelius said the state should produce 10 percent of its electricity needs from wind by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020.


KS 11 years, 4 months ago

Sounds good to me, but I suspect the tree huggers will be against it. All those migratory birds will fly into the wind mill.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 4 months ago

Actually, the vast majority of "tree huggers" support the development of wind energy and expansion of conservation measures. That doesn't mean that there aren't environmental concerns that need to be considered.

bd 11 years, 4 months ago

Most of the opposition is from local landowners who are not getting a cut of the action and say that they are an eyesore and are a hazard to birds!

The only enviromental concern here is the one the oil/coal/gas companys come up with! Go figure!

preebo 11 years, 4 months ago

If I may interject, as a self-described tree hugger, I am completely behind any alternative energy source legislation. Kansas has the real chance to be a leader in the energy revolution. While the migratory birds may be an issue the risk is rather minimal and the benefit for all, including the birds, is much greater.

Emily Hadley 11 years, 4 months ago

Here's a study that was done on the impact on birds & bats:

Bigger threats to birds:

They are pretty good at avoiding the turbines.

mtn_david 11 years, 4 months ago

what happens when the wind stoppes blowing. are you willing to go with out power. you cant turn a switch and start the coal fire plant and natural gas turbines are expense to just be sitting around until you need them are you willing to pay double for the back up or just for with out power.

imastinker 11 years, 4 months ago

All sorts of things kill birds. I hit a bird in my truck every few weeks. It got a whole lot less funny when I hit an owl a few weeks ago. That really scared me......

How many of you have a cap on your chimney? I am cleaning out my chimney now and have what is likely deveral thousand dead birds in there. I bought the house a while ago and it appears to have about 60 years worth of dead birds in it. The scary thing is that if enough fall in it can cover up the flue from the furnace and then kill me too! So put a cap up there and keep your chimney clean too.

ImpactWinter 11 years, 4 months ago

David, I think you need to realize that technology involved in supplying Utilities is a little more advanced than "Flip the coal switch on"

also, as long as the prevailing weather patterns that have ruled north america for millennia don't change tomorrow, the wind is always blowing in some direction in the plains, even if it we're to lull momentarily, capacitors function as reserve supply, and are essential in any case to ensure a regulated flow of power into a transmission system.

ImpactWinter 11 years, 4 months ago

plus, noone is suggesting we go 100% wind, thats just not feasible, but it could take a nice chunk out of the market share, and be eco-friendly

mtn_david 11 years, 4 months ago

ImpactWinter, that is my point exactly you can not bring extra capcity online by a flick of a switch, and you are saying that the wind never stoppes blowing, I have lived in here my whole life and the wind does stop. I am for alternate power sources but they come at a price and the utility is expected to provide that power all the time if the wind stoppes that means alternate power sources most that can not be turned on with a flick of a switch and buying power on the open market is expensive. I just want people to understand that alternate power sources have draw backs.

staff04 11 years, 4 months ago

"what happens when the wind stoppes blowing?"

In the 25 years that I lived in Kansas, I don't believe that this has ever happened...

staff04 11 years, 4 months ago

ALL power sources have drawbacks, not just alternatives to fossil fuels.

I generally agree with bd's comment that the drawbacks are being conceived in the boardrooms of oil/gas/coal companies.

KsTwister 11 years, 4 months ago

Wind speeds and reliability puts Kansas as one of the top three states in North America. The highest potential winds power regions are located in the southwest and eastern Flint Hills regions of the state. However, almost the entire state, with the exception of the extreme eastern region, has sufficient winds speeds to support wind energy. Very rarely is there no wind at all. Moving to wind energy would create less environmental hazards to life then what coal plants create-you have to agree with that. Vehicles create more havoc with birds then turbines do.

Sigmund 11 years, 4 months ago

"And he said the state should guarantee that utilities can recover their operating costs in developing wind."

As wind powered electricity generation is MUCH more expensive than more traditional methods, expect your electric bills to go up significantly.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Yes, I have been waiting for this to come back up. Ok lets go.

Is wind energy safe for the wildlife? What are the back up plans for days with no wind? Can wind energy be a cause for global warming in the next century.

I hate for our generation to be the ones that jumped to conclusions and caused the loss of wind. We are not sure if wind is actualy a renewable resource. Is it possible that containing the movement of wind thru wind farms could cause a depletion of coal production under ground. Yes it could

werekoala 11 years, 4 months ago

I think that discussion of the method of generating energy is good, but it tends to miss the real root of the problem, which is energy STORAGE.

Ie - batteries wear out, have poor capacity, and use toxic chemicals. Hydrocarbons are a fire hazard and generate pollution when burned. Flywheels suffer too great a friction loss. Hydorgen is an interesting idea, but hard to contain for long periods and again, a fire/explosion hazard. Same for natural gas. Fuel cells sound promising, but probably will also use many rare and toxic substances.

So after we generate power through wind, wave, or solar energy - what do we do with it? It's a fair question, that we've sort of glossed over, at least in the popular media. Sounds to me like something we maybe sould spend some R&D money on.

But after buying a multi-sided religious civil war and terrorist recruitment center for a cool $500 billion, the cupboard's bare just about now. I guess that's what you get for having a foreign policy based around "Yee-haw!"

LTStella 11 years, 4 months ago

Wind turbines got a bad name for killing birds about 25 years ago, because no environmental studies were conducted to determine the migratory paths of birds. Also, the older turbines were smaller and moved much more quickly, so birds were more likely to be struck. These issues have been dealt with. Modern wind farms kill many fewer birds than house cats, automobiles, or buildings. While it is true that the wind rarely stops completely, turbines only operate when wind speeds are at least 5-7 mph, so other sources of power are needed besides wind. However, we already have enough coal-fired power in Kansas to offset any amount of wind power we could build in our lifetimes. There is no excuse to build additional fossil fuel burning plants in Kansas.

mehjmhheh 11 years, 4 months ago


Your absurd and rediculus statements dont even deserve a real response, instead I will just say you are typing rubbish. I hope you dont actually believe that stuff.

Kontum1972 11 years, 4 months ago

what about UFO's that hit the spinning props will this cause a catastropic reaction with the Aliens...will it make them retaliate with their DEATH RAYS.....ACK ...ACK....!


justthefacts 11 years, 4 months ago

A really amazing site up north are the miles and miles and miles of wind turbines in Minnesotta. Looked like they were busily spinning, while below the livestock and/or crops continued doing their thing(s).

Don't know how well that is working or the impact it might have on anything, but it's truly a unique vista. Worth the drive just to see it. And it seems like a good state to contact to get more informaiton; Kansas could at least decide how or if to tackle this issue by contacting states where such efforts are more advanced.

As with most things, I suspect that wherever there is more money to be made, or lost, there we shall see the most support or opposition. So look for the money trails if you want to see who is favoring or opposing this idea.

There are indeed some folks without monetary interests that will weigh in and want to be heard - the do-gooders and/or the busy bodies who have opinions on just about everything under the sun. With or without facts to back up their view points.

But those who are monetarily impacted will, I believe, be the ones who are most interested in the direction taken by the government.

Personally, I would be in favor of ANY idea that provides more power. Especially if it is (a) anything that cost consumers and tax payers less money in the long run and/or (b) anything that results in less air/earth pollution.

Let's at least explore ideas for expanding renewable resources of energy, such as wind or solar power, ahead of any crises. It seems a logical way to wean ourselves from engergy sources that are bound to run out one day. Let's not wait until it's too late to plan ahead.

bd 11 years, 4 months ago

As long as Oklahoma blows and Nebraska keeps on suckin we shouldn't have any problems not having enough wind!

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago


I am sorry you think I speak rubbish, just like everyone else I have valid concerns. Although, I will say that you did respond to my absurd post call it what you may.

If you follow these posts, you will recall that this is an issue that I am very up to date on. And, my concerns are valid

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

I will revert back to a famous post I issued a while back concerning the impact of wind manipulation and its effect on the deer in our wildlife.

Do you recall the small deer whistles everyone put on thier cars a few years back? This completly reprogrammed the tracking and direction of deer. Not to mention the impact on thier rutting season.

If we install towers with large propellers on them, how many geese and other flying birds will we loose from them flying into them? As I love to debate both sides of the forum, please indicate your feelings towards this issue mehjmhheh

oldgoof 11 years, 4 months ago

budwhysir: Perhaps goose-meat packing plants should be planned around windfarms. Sounds like economic development to me. Re-employ all those unemployed deer-meat packers. If windfarms work like deer whistles, geese population willeasily triple.

KsTwister 11 years, 4 months ago

Those who cast the hype on wind farms are most usually the coal energy companies who see a losing battle ahead. Europe and other major countries who use wind energy have done enough of their own studies to laugh at those countries who have the capability to drag their feet instead of utilizing the natural resources at hand. I think the worst that could happen is to put the energy companies in charge of the wind farms. If Iowa can use the revenue from its wind turbines to support their schools then surely the extra revenue a year it adds to curriculum funds let alone the savings on the schools energy costs(in thousands) could benefit Kansas children? And as it adds to the tax base in the communities someone will have to come up with a better argument because coal and oil will last only so long.

mehjmhheh 11 years, 4 months ago

Ok budwhyhsir.

Is wind energy safe for the wildlife? -- Nothing is completely safe for anything, there are always risks. Some birds will be killed, as they are by cats, dogs, cars and buildings. Others will change their behavior...thats called learning. Why are deer scared of humans now...they learned.

What are the back up plans for days with no wind? -- A) Nobody is saying to switch completely to wind, and second the wind is pretty constant (especially a couple hundred feet up) and ensured not to run out as long as the global circulation patterns dont change, in which case we will have bigger things to worry about.

Can wind energy be a cause for global warming in the next century.
-- Global warming is caused by the build up of gasses in teh atmosphere, largely through thte combustion of fossif fuels (coal). Wind has ben around as long as the planet (posibly winds) and Im pretty sure there is zero evidence to say it contributes to global warming.

I hate for our generation to be the ones that jumped to conclusions and caused the loss of wind.
Would you rather be the eneration that did nothing when faced with the warning signs of global climate change or at the very leat the foresight to realize that coal was a limited resource.

We are not sure if wind is actualy a renewable resource. --- Wind is created from the interaction of warm and cool masses of air interacting with each long as the planet is not one homogenous temperature all day and all night there will be wind.

Is it possible that containing the movement of wind thru wind farms could cause a depletion of coal production under ground. Yes it could

Contain wind with a fan...huh. Pretty sure they are not airtight containers. And as far as wind depleting the formation of coal...I guess I have to give you credit for looking towards the coal reserves of the very distant futures becasue any coal that is being produced today (dying plants and animals in swamps) wont be ready for use for thousands/millions of years. The surface winds cant change what has already been created underground.

your turn.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

First off, let me thank you for the credit given about the coal reserves, not my strongest point but I will take all I can..

Global warming is an issue that I rarely speak of due to the complexity of the issue. However, global warming could have an impact on our wind reserves as you have pointed out. If our temperatures become a set fixture, we will have no wind due to the non fluxuation of cold vs. hot.

Wildlife is the main topic I have of interest. We can not control the life cycle of the dogs and such but I am not sure the deer have actualy learned to stay away from humans.

I strongly believe that in many ways, the life cycle of deer have been greatly impacted by the placement of roads and also the increase of traffic. The deer whistles make a noise that drive deer crazy. This noise is abundant due to the number of cars that have the deer whistles.

In short, wind farms, while a viable idea, need research and dedication to prove to be operator friendly. Imagine not being able to look out on cold mornings and see the nice white smoke coming from our power plants. And when we dont have wind blowing, I wont be able to research my topics on my computer

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Biggunz, are we using electrical heat on the stove???

mehjmhheh 11 years, 4 months ago

I agree that, with the exception of the wallets of coal power interests, the biggest impact of wind farms will be on wildlife. This is also a great concern of mine and and area that will certainly need to be addressed. But in order to address it, we first have to start building the infrasturcture of the "experiment" otherwise everything is just a guess. There have been lots of studies of birds and towers and the use of lights at various flashing rates, and much has been learned (too fast and it is a strobe light that dissorientates the birds). If coal power was not initiated untill all the kinks had been worked out that we would still be without powere as new improvements are still being made. As far as deer go, the rapid spread of roads, suburban fringe communities, and rural fence rows has done wonders for their numbers....unfortunately their peek active times coincide with our rush hour commutes. If deer are your primary concern, I dont think wind farms should be your focus, but rather reducing their exploding numbers in eastern KS and creating security fences that funnel deer to safe crossing bridges or tunnels as is done in some other states. A real problem with wind farms, is prairie chicken habitat and their avoidance of tall structures (perches for raptors). Like all things that humans put in the environment, it will have an impact. The point is that with a little forethought, some planning, and a little sacrifice, we can minimize the impacts for everyone.....COMPERMISE and we all win.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

the problem is that when we do a test run, it will turn into a political arena that will be controled by the politicians. We all know how costly this can get.

mehjmhheh 11 years, 4 months ago

budwhysir it already is a political arena with politicians (and thir lobyists) controlling everything, so whats to lose....other than the pollution and continued investment in a power source with a limited future.

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Well I think right now it is safe to say that it is only in a committee stage. Once we get the ball rolling watch out. Politicians are good at setting up temporary arenas that showcase the plus side of an issue.

KsTwister 11 years, 4 months ago

......or an energy company pointing out the negative???

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

esq2eb glad I can help, I normaly have a complex about being on top but I am more than willing to share the stage with dambudzo, this poster rocks

budwhysir 11 years, 4 months ago

Wind as a renewable resource is allowed by regulatory laws already in place. We must protect against polution of our wind. If we try to produce from poluted wind, we will have problems

windy 11 years, 4 months ago

ImpactWinter, You have stated that capacitors function as reserve supply, and are essential in any case to ensure a regulated flow of power into a transmission system. (False) This amount of Power or electricity CAN NOT be stored in anything, period.

COOL, there you go again F.D.A. Interconnecting the grid site you gave is for SMALL customers that sell back power to the utilities in very small amount, (kw). Like I said before if you don't know what your talking about S.T.F.U

JumporFall 11 years, 4 months ago

The deer may go back to grazing, but they are in fact grazing crazily at that point. There is no turning back from the damage of deer whistle.

Jackalope 11 years, 4 months ago

Interestingly enough when the wind farm was constructed in Butler County a year or so ago, the Sierra Club supported it and the Nature Conservancy (I think that is the name.) opposed it.

Also interestingly enough, while the 24 hour capacity of a wind generator may seem significant, upon the average, it can produce electricity only about 25% percent of the time. The average actual production from a coal plant is 75%. And, all depending upon the location, one wind tower may need from 2 acres to 40 acres of land surround it so as to not be in a "wind shadow." And, while you can farm around the towers, each tower, its base and service roads takes an average of acre of land out of production or use.

Some thoughts to ponder in the wind power decision.

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