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Archive for Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sebelius leads push for ‘green’ power

Cattle gather underneath the 389-foot-tall wind turbines at the Elk River Wind Project along U.S. Highway 400 in southeastern Butler County. Each turbine generates $5,000 annually for the property owner and enough power for 300 to 500 houses.

Cattle gather underneath the 389-foot-tall wind turbines at the Elk River Wind Project along U.S. Highway 400 in southeastern Butler County. Each turbine generates $5,000 annually for the property owner and enough power for 300 to 500 houses.

June 24, 2007

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Wind energy: the search for alternative energy sources

As the debate heats up on global warming, the search is on for alternative energy sources. And in Kansas, one of the most attractive solutions to cutting carbon emissions is wind energy. But for those who have to live next to wind farms, the towering turbines can be an eyesore and constant noise source. 6News Christine Metz traveled the state to learn more. Enlarge video

Wind farms in Kansas

Hear local residents of the proposed wind farm and Kansas Rep. Tom Sloan discuss the proposed energy source near Hays, Kan. Enlarge video

— Jacinta Faber is just the kind of person you would picture advocating wind energy. She and her family buy organic food, recycle and even use low-flow toilets to conserve water.

While Faber likes the concept of wind energy, she doesn't particularly like the idea of the almost 400-foot-tall wind turbines looming on a ridge about 2,000 feet from her house southwest of Hays.

She fears there could be health repercussions from the constant noise of the low-frequency whooping sound that the spinning turbines make and the strobelike effect from the blades' shadows.

Faber and more than 100 other homeowners in Ellis County say the proposed wind farm - which would be a mile or less away from her home - is just too close.

"I understand green energy is a good deal, but this is not a black-and-white issue. There is a lot of gray," Faber said.

Governments - and consumers - are looking to wind energy as a way to reduce carbon emissions and diversify the country's energy supply. Wind is an abundant and renewable energy source. Once the wind turbines are built, there are no polluting emissions.

And wind energy is even more attractive in a state that is ranked third in the country for the potential development of wind-generated electricity.

In Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' State of the State address this year, she set a goal of having 20 percent of the state's electricity come from wind power by 2020.

Right now, 0.3 percent of Kansas electricity comes from wind power, mostly from three large-scale commercial wind farms.

From Sherman County to Butler County, proposals for wind farms have popped up.

Jim Ploger, manager of the climate and energy programs for the Kansas Energy Office, said pending projects - such as the one in Hays and another in the Smoky Hills - could double the state's wind-powered electricity in the next few years.

"Especially out in western Kansas, it's as good of quality wind resource area as almost anywhere in the world," Ploger said.

Why wind?

For years, state Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, has advocated for the use of more wind power. And that's not just because it is good for the environment and economically feasible to produce commercially.

Wind farms would benefit the ranchers or farmers who are having a hard time making a living and rural towns that are losing population, Sloan said.

"It's another way of keeping people on the land, of keeping these small towns viable," he said. "And for the people in Lawrence it's a way we wouldn't have to support their infrastructure, their schools, their hospitals, their roads to the same extent if the people continue to depart, flee, die in those counties."

Ploger - who has never read of any documented health-related side effects from wind turbines - said the health care costs linked to energy produced by fossil fuels add up to $900 million in Kansas.

No state regulations

The Sierra Club has said wind farms should go up across the state, with the exception of the Flint Hills, which Sebelius has designated as the "heart" of her wind energy effort.

While studies show that wind turbines have a low effect on birds, global warming poses a far greater risk to the environment, said Craig Volland, air quality committee chairman for the Sierra Club's Kansas chapter.

"We do believe every form of energy has some impact. We also think that modest impacts may have to be tolerated in lieu of the major advantages of fighting global warming," Volland said. "We are also concerned that these damages be limited, but the trouble is the science doesn't really give us a strong handle on what those are."

That is exactly what a Congress-requested report from a National Research Council panel implied last month. In the report, it was suggested that more research needs to be done on wind turbines' effects on birds and bats and that better data was needed to put regulations in place.

In Kansas, there are no state regulations for wind farms. The restrictions - if any - are imposed by local zoning codes.

Sloan said state lawmakers have discussed - and discarded - the idea of having more regulations on wind farms.

"The Legislature and a vast majority of its members have said this is a local decision. This is no different than where someone would site a grocery store or a housing development or the local water treatment plant," Sloan said.

Debate in Hays

With a decision from the Ellis County Commission pending, the debate about the wind project has come to a boil in Hays.

Competitive Power Venture, whose parent company is Spanish-based Iberdrola, is seeking approval for a 100- to 130-turbine wind farm on 11,000 acres southwest of Hays.

The project has garnered support from the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development. Earlier versions of the proposal were backed by letters of support from Fort Hays State University, the city of Hays and county commissioners.

Letters flowed in to the local newspaper, neighbors stopped talking and signs of protest went up in the fields on the outskirts of Hays, a town of 20,000 people about 230 miles west of Lawrence.

On Monday evening, about 50 people settled into a lecture hall at Hays High School to listen to attorney Patrick Hughes lay out the opposition's legal rights. There were men in cowboy hats and boots and others in polo shirts and sandals. Some women arrived with carefully styled hair, trendy eyewear and capris, while others came in ponytails and T-shirts.

The arguments against the proposal are as diverse as the people opposing it. The most basic issue is the effect the turbines will have on the rural landscape. Others fear property values will go down and their health will suffer. And some just think the public process leading up to a decision was done poorly.

Faber would just like to see the wind farm moved a few miles down the road, where it would affect fewer homes. Under county zoning laws, the turbines can be no closer than 1,000 feet to homes, but the company has stated it would build them at least 2,000 feet away.

Krista Jo Gordon, the wind farm project manager, said moving the project a few miles could add millions of dollars to the cost.

When companies look for places to build wind farms, Gordon said, they consider the wind quality and the site's proximity to existing transmission lines, which must have enough capacity to deliver the electricity to higher population centers.

Health concerns

Nina Pierpont, a doctor in New York, claims that the "flicker" from the shadows of spinning wind turbine blades - similar to a strobe effect - can cause people to lose their balance or become nauseated.

According to her findings, those living within a half mile of wind turbines are likely to experience "very bothersome levels of noise and flicker."

Those in Hays also mention the work of a professor and doctor in Portugal who claim the continuous exposure to low-frequency noise from wind turbines can cause vibroacoustic disease.

The disease, which according to the researchers' work causes the blood vessels to thicken and impede blood flow, is of particular concern to Mike and Sheryl Butler, who could be neighbors to four wind turbines.

After having coughing spells so bad that he would black out, Mike Butler has been treated for severe asthma and bronchitis. He makes routine trips to a pulmonary doctor at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver.

As soon as the Butlers read about the disease, they were worried.

"All this stuff has been common words to us for the last three years," Sheryl Butler said. "My heart just stopped."

The Butlers have given a letter to the County Commission from his doctor stating that the turbines should be at least a mile and half from their home because of health concerns.

"If this comes in, our position is either we choose to ride this out and risk Mike's health or we walk away from our dream home," Sheryl Butler said.

Beyond those opposing the wind turbine project, no one interviewed for this story said there were any documented health risks to wind farms.

"What you hear from the turbines is just the whoosh of the blade carving through the air," Sloan said. "I have not seen any scientific medical evidence in any of the publications that I read that indicates there is a real health hazard."

The view

As for the claims that wind farms ruin a good view, it's open for debate, proponents say.

"It is like going to an art museum. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some think they are beautiful structures, part of the natural landscape. They enhance it," Ploger said.

Those are arguments that Jacinta Faber just doesn't buy.

Peering out her kitchen window, Faber points to the grain elevator that is just down the hill from her home.

The difference between being neighbors to wind turbines versus a grain elevator? The turbines will be nearly double the height and weren't there when she and her husband, Paul, bought the house.

"These are not perfect little things," Faber said of the turbines. "We need to keep them away from people's homes."

Comments

compmd 7 years, 3 months ago

CFL's? They are kinda neat in that they use less power than incandescent lights for comparable luminosity, at the cost of using mercury. What do you do when you're done with the CFL, eh? Throw out your newly useless glass capsule of mercury?

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Isn't a bit odd that corporate america stands by and watches a foreign operation come into the market yet continue to say the USA is not ready?

It seems like control of America is constantly being outsourced. Which means more USA dollars will be converted to Euros. http://www.communityenergy.biz/pr/cei_pr_iberdrola.html

http://www.communityenvironmentalcouncil.org/Programs/EP/index.cfm

http://www.powerhousekids.com/stellent2/groups/public/documents/pub/phk_ee_re_001505.hcsp

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kugrad 7 years, 3 months ago

Would she rather have a coal-burning plant or a nuclear reactor within sight of her house? I don't think so.

Way to go Governor, we need leadership on this issue. There are decades old successful wind and solar "farms" all over the country, particularly in the west.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 7 years, 3 months ago

So, even wind power can kill? I've been saying it for years: nuclear power is the solution. No reliance on foreign oil, no strip mining and no greenhouse gasses.

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nell 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder if aesthetic objections would dwindle if there was a significant immediate personal payoff, like a 50% reduction in electric utility bills. Maybe even 35%.

We're so conditioned to making decisions and basing opinion on immediate gratification. Since the payoff can't be felt immediately, in one's sown pocket, its value is superceded by comparatively frivolous concerns.

I'm talking about aesthetic complaints, not health concerns, which I don't know enough about. Would the turbines really cast 2000+-ft. strobe shadows into residents' backyards? Nearly 7 football fields is a pretty long shadow. Perhaps it's enough of a distance to dissipate sonic/mechanical vibration, too.

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KsTwister 7 years, 3 months ago

This month I have traveled 12 states by vehicle. Every one of those states excluding Kansas had wind turbines--every. But then again I saw the coal pit that supplied this one. In Montana, one farmer had even built two small ones close to his home. After getting to see so many I find it ridiculous that people in Kansas are so opposed to a good thing. Technology of those new ones had quiet rotations, Faber needs either an education or a car ride. Kansas as stupid as you think.

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Kat Christian 7 years, 3 months ago

Good grief people have to complain about EVERYTHING. They complain because the earth is being distroyed so they recycle, use organic food yet when it comes to finding better ways to use or save resources for powering our homes they complain about that. Maybe they need their electricity cut off for a while to appreciate even having it. My only concern for this is corporate greed. I feel Corporations who develop alternative energy such as wind things will make it cost more money for the consumers. I mean who gives them the right to charge for the use of wind when it is God given? So there is more to this than the whoosh sound (which is ridiculous). I think Americans are spoiled rotten and anytime something new and different is introduced and one person doesn't like it because is may be an inconvenience to their senses (whoa!!) they insight others to protest as well. She should be thankful she has her own home, is alive and well and has a beautiful sky to look at. There are alot of people in this country who don't have a home, live in a dirty city with a lot of noise and just endure so she can too. Get over it!!

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buffalo_star 7 years, 3 months ago

takes money to make money, it takes energy to make energy. the cycle continues....

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cutny 7 years, 3 months ago

Somehow those things do not look 400-ft tall. Is it out of scale somehow. Reality_Check...I think you misunderstand the sentiment given in the interview. As well, it sounds like you're all for wind energy, but "not if they harm my raptors." Raptors are adaptable, they'll get over it.

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classclown 7 years, 3 months ago

How can Lawrence get in on this? How about we bring wind farms here? One in the Baker wetlands, one at 6th and Wakarusa, and one downtown.

Or perhaps we can even make roundabouts out of them. One on every corner. Not only do we get clean cheap electricity, but traffic calming as well. In that way, they would pay for themselves in more ways than one.

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Liberty 7 years, 3 months ago

Magnetic devices are the best option for the future. They don't need wind or sun or acres to operate. No pollution or heat generation.

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average 7 years, 3 months ago

Liberty, would you care to explain yourself? All existing electric generation uses magnetic properties. Do you have some new insight into thermodynamics you'd like to share?

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penguin 7 years, 3 months ago

ya Faber is the ultimate NIMBY. Her and her husband Paul Faber (Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fort Hays State University) along with some other people (FHSU professors and other non-farmers) who just live out in the country just are opposed to this idea (from what I have gathered people who actually farm out that part of town or make a living off their land are for the farms...not to say that living in the country is bad, but when it comes to people trying to make a living and this is another way to do it than I support them).

It is also funny that they are building/ or soon will build a Natural Gas plant of sorts outside of Hays, but no one is saying boo about it. However, these people have argued that the wind turbines are anything from ugly to make noise, which eventually drives you insane.

Oh well I guess they did want to build those coal plants in Southwest KS...maybe they can move them to just outside Hays and these people will be happy.

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Meatwad 7 years, 3 months ago

Between the GREED of the coal plants and people like the Fagens and Butlers, we may never see a more environmentally conscious way to produce electricity.

I'm saving this article so that when our children and grandchildren ask why my generation, despite having the knowledge of how not to, basically RUINED the planet. I will explain that it's due to attitudes of people like these.

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camper 7 years, 3 months ago

I believe energy derived from wind is an excellent idea. It seems like a no-brainer..the benefits far outweigh the negatives. The concerns suggested seem concocted.

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snowWI 7 years, 3 months ago

The Faber family needs to be realistic. Would they rather have a coal plant or nuclear plant in their backyard instead of a wind farm? The new wind turbines are much more advanced and the blades spin slowly. Bird kills are not a problem with the newer generation of wind turbines. Other states with less favorable wind conditions compared with Kansas such as Iowa and Minnesota have a lot of wind farms generating electricity, while the rural landowners get good supplemental income from having the wind turbines on their property. penguin- I did not hear that they were considering to build a natural gas plant in Hays. It is typical that they would put it there considering Sunflower Electric and the tri-state electric cooperatives would much rather put the proposed coal plant in southwest Kansas instaed. I would agree that natural gas plants are a much alternative and far less dangerous to the public health compared with coal plants.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

Yes Sebelius! Finally we are starting to get on the right track. Kansas must take advantage of it's enormous potential for wind power right now! This is not only essential for future energy concumption needs but it is all economically promising at present. Wind farms will create many jobs and opprotunities for new busineeses in Kansas.

As far as the aestetic compaints that is all a bunch a BS. Do those people not realize what the prairie landscape looked like during the Oil Boom? I've been to the Elk River Wind Farm and found it absolutely beautiful. Of the 5,000 acres the land sits on only 2% are impacted by the wind turbines.

Kansas needs to get extremely agressive in the wind industry, we have already lost out on many opprotunities to out of state and foreign energy firms. In the next decade we need to further expand our wind infrastructure as much as possible.

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compmd 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm going to summarize Ms. Faber's statements nicely: "I don't care what your expert engineering opinion is, I'm putting my foot down and telling YOU what needs to be done because of the uncorroborated research of one doctor and my feelings."

I loved the sign in the video that said "real farmers don't need industrial wind turbines." Well, what do they need?

Grow up, western Kansas. You have a limitless supply of free energy, and you don't want it. I want to go find an anti-wind zealot and give him a quick test simulating "strobelike shadows". I'm going to tell him to blink really fast, and if he doesn't fall to the ground having a seizure in a couple minutes, I will kindly inform him that he is, in fact, an idiot. The next test will be to lock him in a room for a few days with nothing but slow R&B and rap playing (with repetitive, low frequency sounds of course) and when his head doesn't explode, I'll ask him how many millions of people in this country live near other wind farms and airports and do not having exploding head syndrome or whatever the heck they call it. If his head does explode, we can rekindle our arguments on this board on how "that kind" of music can kill.

Liberty, I am also interested in your "magnetic devices." Seeing as how power generation is a dynamic process, not static, it must generate heat. As Homer Simpson once said, "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"

Put up the turbines. The hypochondriacs should provide sufficient entertainment.

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sci4all 7 years, 3 months ago

The Spanish-owned company that's putting in the turbines - thanks to multimillions in US government subsidies and tax breaks - made deals under the table with the Ellis county commissioners, at least one of whom owns land upon which turbines would be located. Nice chunk of change for that commish, eh?

The Fabers and others who are protesting this certainly don't want this in their back yard. There are plenty of deserted windswept ridges in Ellis County and western Kansas where these turbines could be located. Why force them into folks' backyards?

The article made it very clear that the Fabers and their neighbors recognize the value of wind power. Do you want a 40-story turbine erected less than 1/2 mile from your home? Didn't think so.

Of course, for the best wind, the turbines should be placed in the KS House & Senate chambers.

http://elliscoalition.blogspot.com/

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javery 7 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, I can empathize. I live in a worse place though. Vibroacoustic diseases? Well, I bet I'm at far greater risk. See, I live in an apartment. People have stereos. Loud stereos. I bet that if there is such a thing as vibroacoustic disease, those stereos put me at a far, far greater risk than these people.

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Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 3 months ago

There are too may people in western Kansas. If the Sierra Club really cares, they would buy western Kansas and fill it with wind turbines. Stop all of that center pivot irrigation nonsense and let the Ogalalla aquifer be replenished. Stop with the grain production, already. Raise epileptic bison, deer pheasant, quail and elk with hardened arteries out there. They're not going to live long enough to have heart attacks, anyway. Take down those signs that say one farmer feeds 241 pigs, I mean people, and you. Buy out that one farmer (corporation) and end the perpetual corporate welfare drain.

Gosh, if only I ruled the world:it would still go to hell in a handbasket!~) Did I mention the Hays to Kanorado "tollscalator" (turbine powered SUV vehicle transport)? We could pay all of our KS taxes!

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penguin 7 years, 3 months ago

Well the article has summarized some of the ...at times laughable....arguments put out by the opponents of wind power. I can assure you if you read through the information on http://www.hdnews.net/windfarm/windfarm07.shtml and not on the blog link from the wind opponents you get a real idea of what is going on. Also check out the letters to the editor on the Hays Daily News website (www.hdnews.net).

I seem to remember one of the arguments...some time back about the turbines killing bats: http://www.hdnews.net/windfarm/windfarm051507.shtml "There is concern about bat strikes, flying mammals, and that seems to be more of a problem."

As a general rule, over the scope of North America, there are as many bats in an area as there are birds, said Jerry Choate, director of Sternberg Museum of Natural History.

"There's bats all over out there," Choate said of the proposed Ellis County project site. "Where wind farms have been studied after they were constructed, you find lots of dead bats and birds lying around underneath them."

http://www.hdnews.net/windfarm/windfarm050407.shtml "We won't live around these turbines because it's dangerous for my children. I will not live in a community that does not care about the health and safety of my kids," Pat Bittel said. "All of these are going to be in my front yard. I can't sit there and watch the landscape being raped."

Point being...these people will say anything to stop this project. The only real issue is that they are a bunch of NIMBYs.

Also as a Hays native (born and raised) I would love to see the turbines all around Hays. Also I haven't done the measurements on how far they would be from anywhere my family lives in town, but I would welcome them less than 1/2 mile from my home.

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nano_man 7 years, 3 months ago

Hi all,

I'm Paul and Jacinta Faber's son and I'd like to say a few things before you level any charges against my parents or the people we associate with. We are not, may I reiterate "not", NIMBY. We would love to have wind energy. To speak for my family, we are very concerned about global warming and would love to find a solution to stop it. Wind power seems like that solution and when were first confronted with the idea, we thought it was great. As with any major influence in our life, we decided to research the topic and found that it was not as great as advertised. There are massive risks associated with the turbines, ranging from health to economic. After dealing with this situation for four months now, we have a little more experience than a reader who picked up the paper and read about the issue for the first time. We are not NIMBY. After reading about the adverse health effects of wind turbines in close proximity to homes we decided that we were NIABY, Not In Anyone's Back Yard. Now, to those who volunteer, go right ahead a put a turbine in your backyard, as long as you have proper setbacks for those who don't want the turbines effect. It troubles me though, that Lawrence, which is supposed to be a highly cultured community of thinkers, acts irrationally and quickly without evidence to label anyone opposed to green energy as selfish. I would have thought you were better than that. I guess not. Try researching the issue a little more and then you'll find out what we are talking about.

Ben Faber

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speedykitty 7 years, 3 months ago

Why, if Mike Butler has all of these health problems, is the family out tramping through a neighboring wheat field, with the dust, molds, rust, and other possible organisms being kicked-up, to breath? Further, why are they out in the farmer's wheat field, anyway/ I wouldn't be out in our mature wheat fields disturbing the stalks, unless it was for a darned good agricultural reason.

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niaby 7 years, 3 months ago

Ben are you coming to KU in the Fall?

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niaby 7 years, 3 months ago

I kind of wonder if this Sebelius supports wind energy article title is not a way to float the idea that eminent domain could be used to force the turbines into the plotted lands. However, I am not a lawyer, so I am not sure how that could work, but it just sort of popped into my mind when I read the article title.

Definition of NIMBY: NIMBY (an acronym of Not In My Back Yard) describes the phenomenon in which residents designate a development as inappropriate or unwanted for their local area, even if the development is clearly a benefit for many.

Hays Daily News (pay special attention to the last line) May 3, 2007 (http://www.hdnews.net/windfarm/windfarm050407.shtml)

While these neighbors have been labeled "Not In My Backyard Obstructionists" or "conspiracy theorists" or "radicals," the group simply wants to make its concerns about the proposed location known, said Jacinta Faber.

Faber agrees that the lack of governmental regulations is a heavy concern.

"That's where we really feel quite vulnerable. We feel like we don't have any protection," she said. "And understanding, this is all new, this is a new industry. This is not a well-established industry, and so there will be mistakes that will be made, but we don't want to, in a sense, be the victims of those mistakes."

This becomes especially frustrating when research suggests there have been problems with the wind industry, Faber said.

"So many things have occurred, and nobody really seems to be listening to that," she said. "There are some major concerns about health ... it's all about the location."

This clearly meets the definition of NIMBY...just move the things down the road.

but this is from Paul Faber http://elliscoalition.blogspot.com/2007/06/carrying-out-trash.html Fortunately, there are a couple of remedies possible. The industrial wind project could be moved farther south and west so that it does not lay the burdens on the unfortunate families who would bear the burden of living right near the currently planned turbines. And then those who would still live near re-sited turbines could be fairly compensated by having their property purchased at market value. Then if there are people who buy that property and choose to live near the turbines, they would be accepting the burdens voluntarily.

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KsTwister 7 years, 3 months ago

$5K for each turbine on their property; dropped from $10k already. But $125K for 25 of them every year and they can still raise cattle and pigs. Their AC probably makes more noise then the new ones too.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

The funny thing is about the noise complaint is that at the Elk River Wind Farm you cannot hear anything coming from the turbines because the Wind is so loud. That's all you hear, wind. Although I think the complaints against wind power are ridiculous and foolish, it seems like a compromise could be made to extend the distance between homes and turbines in order to be allowed to build more wind farms without these idiotic protests. At least now when we have enough room to spread these things out a bit, which we might not be able to afford in the future. That also might make these companies provide an even larger investment by having to extend connection lines even further into rural areas.

But the bottom line is we must build more Wind Farms, and fast.

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sci4all 7 years, 3 months ago

Yep, we need more wind farms.

But must they be placed so close to already-existing homes? Some of you contend that no research has been done to support the health concerns raised by the neighboring landowners. Why not hold off placing these behemoths in anyone's backyard until more definitive research has been done about possible health hazards?

There's plenty of land in Ellis County that isn't populated. Ben, you're precisely on target with your assessment that this is a NIABY issue.

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niaby 7 years, 3 months ago

The locations were chosen because of the wind viability of the area...not just to anger people.

Hays Daily News April 30, 2007 http://www.hdnews.net/windfarm/windfarm043007.shtml

Wind resource was the primary reason the 11,000 square-acre section of land about 3 miles southwest of Hays was selected as the location for a proposed wind farm, said Krista Gordon, Competitive Power Ventures project manager.

Distributed Generation Systems, CPV's predecessor, began conducting wind studies in 2003. A data-collecting instrument was attached to a communication tower south of Golf Course Road, she said.

Since then, two additional meteorological towers have been constructed on the project site, one in 2005 and one in 2006. Data still is being collected from these structures, which are located in the north half of the project area and stand 50 and 60 meters tall, respectively.

According to the data collected, the specific project location offered some of the best sustained wind speeds, she said.

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compmd 7 years, 3 months ago

I am not a doctor, but I am well educated in the sciences and engineering, and everything I know tells me that these rural residents are at a much greater risk of having Something Bad happen to them driving to town to go to the store when compared to whatever might be a risk from a wind turbine.

As far as moving the turbines goes, lets RTFA one more time:

"Krista Jo Gordon, the wind farm project manager, said moving the project a few miles could add millions of dollars to the cost.

When companies look for places to build wind farms, Gordon said, they consider the wind quality and the site's proximity to existing transmission lines, which must have enough capacity to deliver the electricity to higher population centers."

The proposed location is supposedly the optimum location.

After reading over this a couple of times I wondered if maybe a Vogon Constructor Fleet would come by to solve all our problems because there was need for a solar wind power generator to supply more power to a distant civilization.

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honestypol 7 years, 3 months ago

Does anybody read this far?..... just wondering if all the folks who sneer at the woman for her "NIMBY" attitude would feel the same way if they were surrounded by 400 foot turbines? It's pretty easy to pat yourself on the back for your progressive attitudes and concern for the earth when somebody else has to pay the price. Wonder if these are the same folks who complain mightily about cell phone towers blighting their neighborhood? Why is it that with all the cropland already disturbed, greenies feel obligated to support putting wind turbines on unbroken prairie?

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KsTwister 7 years, 3 months ago

If Wind power had damaging effects on unbroken prairie the turbines would not now be on the prairies of Wyoming,Montana,Idaho,Washington,Oregon,California,Nebraska and South Dakota.Better argument needed but as Kansas could have led this energy alternative they did not. Many of those states get so much from the turbines they have to turn some of them off. Kansans are losers and so are their kids. I've seen them, I've heard the sound and I assume you think that movie terminal velocity was it----well its not. You hear wind and at the base you May hear an occasional transfer which is not as loud as your dishwasher. Get over it.

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gccs14r 7 years, 3 months ago

If they were so bad they wouldn't be all over Europe, a much more densly populated area than western Kansas. Having one in my immediate back yard wouldn't be my first choice, but a thousand feet away? It'd quickly become part of the landscape, like a grain elevator or water tower. Better a wind farm than a coal-fired power plant.

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Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 7 years, 3 months ago

+1 on Governor Roundheels the Missouri Wh*re. The only thing this woman cares about that's green is money. She'll spout this stuff to entice the corporate polluters to buy she and her Republicrat allies off.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

These turbines will be like the oil wells on farmland according to what I'm hearing. Some royalty checks from time to time.

Yes there are many people who have concerns about being close to electrical lines.

I have been told that there is no reason why turbines cannot be placed on state right of way along interstates. Then perhaps the state could rake in some revenue. Powerlines/poles have not been considered works of art.

There is the possibility of additional hydro power locally. New technology is available for an existing resource.

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samuelisironman 7 years, 3 months ago

Everyonoe here is missing the big picture. What we really need to try to be doing is harnassing the power of space. We need to contain a primordial black hole from deep space to bring back and have revolve around the earth, of course at a safe enough distance that it doesn't damage our atmosphere. We harness all the gamma rays we possible can outside of the atmosphere and transmit them down to a receiving stations all acrosss the planet. Clean, reliable power for all 6 billion people and counting.

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Mkh 7 years, 3 months ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:

"These turbines will be like the oil wells on farmland according to what I'm hearing. Some royalty checks from time to time."

Yes in the sense that landowners lease the land to the wind energy company to use the same as they would an oil company. However there is a significant difference in how the land will be treated as a result. As I'm sure you know oil companies are notorious for abusing the land of farmers and ranchers. But on the other hand wind energy projects are comparatively impact free on the ranches. They use a tiny fraction of the actual landscape and do not cause unreversable gelogical damage to the land.

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Kat Christian 7 years, 3 months ago

This has been the most enjoyable post I've read yet. Compnd you are a riot - I'm in tears laughing. But what all of you have said is so true. I think the Faber's are being ridiculously Marie Antionetty (if you know what I mean). There are more important things in this world to complain about and try to change than a wind turbines 2000 feet from your backyard that will give you cheap electricity. Ya just can't please some people. Fabar's put your effort towards things that count like more tax dollars for our children's education, more prison time for pediphiles, ending the war in Iraq to name a few. Duh! This has been fun and educational folks.

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sci4all 7 years, 3 months ago

"Distributed Generation Systems, CPV's predecessor, began conducting wind studies in 2003. A data-collecting instrument was attached to a communication tower south of Golf Course Road, she [Krist Gordon, Iberdrola engineer] said."

Funny how the affected neighbors weren't notified of the intended project for 4 years after the wind studies began.

Yes, it might cost Spanish-owned Iberdrola more money to move the towers away from habitation. Which, again, points to the company's one and only goal - to take advantage of the tax incentives offered by the government so they can turn a profit. That company doesn't care one bit about the quality of life of those who live in their towers' monstrous shadows.

The Fabers saw their home destroyed by a tornado in 1998, yet they patiently, lovingly rebuilt. Once again, wind threatens their home - but now the damage is being done by their neighbors, not nature.

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fletch 7 years, 3 months ago

"Why not hold off placing these behemoths in anyone's backyard until more definitive research has been done about possible health hazards?"

Because there and thousands of wind farms in the world, and many of them have been operating for a long time. If massive numbers of European villages were suddenly beset with bizarre wind farm related diseases or all of the birds in an area had a massive die off, we would know.

The NIMBYs in Hayes are just happy to spread some fear, uncertainty, and doubt (fud) rather than deal with the turbines. If (as one of them claims) they were really against anything dangerous being built out in anybody's backyard, then when were they when the plans for that massive natural gas plant went up? Why weren't they speaking up then. Nope. They were silent, because it was on the other side of town and they didn't have to look at it. To complain now is just hypocritical. They're fine with a natural gas plant polluting the air (killing many more birds, as well as livestock) and polluting the soil that farmers and ranchers depend on . But oh no! Suddenly a turbine might be near their house! Time to freak out!

P.S. Not to belittle Hayes, because it's a nice town, but it's not exactly 'scenic' out there. It's not like the scenic planes of Ellis County are a giant tourist draw to our state.

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sci4all 7 years, 3 months ago

sunshine_noise, the electricity generated by the turbines won't be going to Kansans - it'll be 'shipped out' to Colorado.

Google "Paul Faber" "Hays Daily News" to read some of his previous works - dealing with education funding and the war in Iraq. Paul & Jacinta are caring, concerned, intelligent citizens who don't deserve the flaming they've received here. Get a grip, and go walk a mile in their shoes.

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sci4all 7 years, 3 months ago

From this week in the Hays Daily News:

Approaching Green Energy Progressively As an ecology major at the University of Kansas, I am keenly aware of the need to reduce the negative human impact on our environment. To be successful in reducing greenhouse gases and preserve our non-renewable resources, we have two choices: make more through renewable resources or use less energy.

On the surface, wind energy seems to be a logical solution. Free power from the wind, right? Well, not exactly. Wind energy is currently quite expensive and must be heavily subsidized by the government, with our tax dollars, to compete with traditional energy production. In addition, it is not as reliable since it cannot be effectively stored, and the wind doesn't blow all the time. This means wind energy will never be anything more than a minor supplement for our energy needs.

Germany has over 20,000 wind turbines and leads the world in wind energy production. However, they are only able to produce 4.2% of their energy potential (48 gigawatt potential, 2 gigawatt production). To date, not one single coal-powered or other traditional power plant has been replaced. In fact, Germany has stopped subsidizing wind power and future development will cease. Obviously, wind power proved to have little impact there.

So what is a progressive, effective solution to the energy problems we have? I propose that instead of spending so much money to make more energy, we use just a fraction of that money for conservation strategies that have little to no effect on our day-to-day lives.

Here's an example. The federal government currently subsidizes wind developers approximately $1.25 million for each 1.5 MW turbine (data extrapolated from Keith Martin, Chadbourne and Parke, LLP). Iberdrola, the international corporation that has proposed the wind project in Ellis Country, would receive over $160 million from the United States. As taxpayers, we collectively cover that cost and then again pay for the electricity that it produces in our energy bill. [cont'd]

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sci4all 7 years, 3 months ago

[cont'd]

Now, instead of subsidizing a large foreign utility corporation, what if the federal government bought each house in Ellis county ten 15-watt compact fluorescent bulbs? These bulbs, which last an average of 5 years, would produce the same amount of light as 75-watt traditional light bulbs, but use much less energy per bulb. Based on average usage and production figures, this strategy would save enough electricity to replace two wind turbines (with energy left over) and would only cost the government $312,000. The rest of the energy could go elsewhere, and by using less energy in our households, we would save money in our electric bill.

Additionally, all of the problems and controversy associated with placing and taking down these massive structures is eliminated as well. Ultimately, we would conserve space and scenery, money, and energy. This is just one idea. There are many other ways of reducing energy consumption with little change to our daily lives.

We need to seriously consider what our goal is and pursue that goal earnestly. If our goal is to conserve energy, reduce the usage of fossil fuels and emissions of greenhouse gases, we should look more to saving energy rather than producing more to feed our habit. Investing in conservation has a much larger impact at a much lower cost when compared to the construction of wind turbines.

If, on the other hand, our goal is to eliminate a little guilt concerning our excessive energy usage and to boost the earnings of a few multinational corporations while we are at it, it looks to me that wind turbines are the best things going.

Alex Bittel Lawrence, Kansas

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drewdun 7 years, 3 months ago

Marion insulting people, again. Yawn.

Do you ever contribute anything of substance here?

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niaby 7 years, 3 months ago

changing light bulbs?....sounds like a bad counterplan from the debate topic my jr yr of high school...renewable energy topic..takes me back

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snowWI 7 years, 3 months ago

none2, Halgoen light bulbs use quite a bit of electricity compared with compact flourescent light bulbs. You can get some mini spiral CFLs that only use about 14 watts that will provide very good quality light. In fact, I have been using CFLs for so many years it is time for me to make a trip to the recycling center to dispose of the old CFLs that are now burnt out after about 6-8 years.

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