Archive for Friday, December 13, 2013

Wind energy company NextEra eyeing Douglas County

December 13, 2013


NextEra Energy Resources, the largest wind energy developer in the United States, said it is in the very early stages of looking at Douglas County as a site for a future wind farm.

"We have talked to some landowners," said Steve Stengel, a spokesman for the Florida-based company. "We haven't really even started measuring the wind yet, so it's a fairly lengthy process."

Stengel said the company is currently looking for sites to place meteorological towers to measure the wind in the area and determine if it would be economically feasible to build a wind farm here. He said the company also wants to find out if there are enough landowners willing to sell easements on their land for wind turbines to make a project possible.

One landowner who said he has been approached is Gary Dick, who lives near Baldwin City and owns other land in southwest Douglas County.

"I'm probably going to do my level best to keep them out of Douglas County if I can," Dick said. "I don't understand why they want to put it in such a populated area. They should be in corn fields and farm fields. There are a lot of houses in this area."

Dick said a company representative he spoke with told him the structures would be 400 feet tall, from the ground to the edge of a wind blade pointed straight up.

He said the company's offer called for paying a $1,000 signing bonus, plus $1,000 per year to secure an option for an easement. That would give the company up to six years to execute the option, which would involve a long-term lease for the location of a tower, plus road access to the structure.

He said the company is looking at an area in southern Douglas County, generally between U.S. Highway 59 and Overbrook in Osage County.

Stengel did not confirm those details.

He said NextEra currently has wind energy developments in more sparsely populated western Kansas. But he said the company is always looking for new potential sites, and one of the factors it considers is the cost of transmitting wind-generated power to population centers where energy is needed.

Douglas County commissioners voted this week to impose a moratorium through April 30 on any development applications for wind farms to give county officials time to draft zoning regulations that would apply specifically to them.

Stengel, however, said it would probably take a minimum of two years before NextEra might be ready to submit an application.


Clark Coan 4 years, 5 months ago

That company used to be called Florida Power and Light. Why isn't Westar doing this around the state???

I bet there is sufficient wind in that area. I mean there's a wind farm in Northwest Missouri and that region doesn't have more wind than the ridge along US 56 to Overbrook.

Of course there are environmental problems. There are some native prairie tracts in the region. The access roads destroy prairie and fragment the habitat. Plus, raptors get killed by the turbines. In some regions of Kansas the wind turbines negatively affect prairie chicken populations. They think the towers harbor hawks and eagles, so the chickens avoid those areas.

Lawrence Morgan 4 years, 5 months ago

But it's a lot better than nuclear energy - look at what's happened in Japan, and Nevada. If we are lucky, we may be able to solve those problems thousands of years in the future if we are still here.

Ted Morehouse 4 years, 5 months ago

Its much worse than nuclear, who wants to live in a landscape surrounded by these things. Not to mention they are expensive, intermittent, and taxing on the environment to build. Your fear of nuclear radiation is unfounded. Read about the 200 women who remained in the dead zone in Chernobyl, they are healthier and have outlived their counterparts who left after the meltdown. Some are older than 80 years.

Its time to stop sensationalizing nuclear, we are not in the cold war anymore.

4 years, 5 months ago

Oh jeez, seriously? Wind power is "much worse than nuclear"? Wind and solar are the future, old timer. There's no getting around it. We can't keep burying our nuclear waste in mountains and pretending like it'll never contaminate our environment. And I'm no scientist but I think the vast majority of us can agree that "fear of nuclear radiation" is absolutely, 100% founded. Go hug a spent fuel rod, Ted.

Laurie Forth Shuck 4 years, 5 months ago

If you think windfarms are risk free you need to research it, just google windfarm complaints. I was passive on the issue untill appproached by NextEra, I couldnt believe the health affects and damage to the the wildlife these hideous structures cause. I am certain most of the people in favor of them HERE are not looking at them being in your back yard. I live on a farm in my family over 100 years, I will not let let these people devastate it to produce higher priced energy. Please educate yourselves on the effects to the people directly involved and ask yourself if these things really belong in a high populated area before you pull out your "green energy" soap box.

Mark Kostner 4 years, 5 months ago

This is a bad idea. I googled a map of Kansas wind. Douglas County is marginal to poor. The areas rated excellant are Southwest Kansas, especially near Dodge City and a ridge south of I-70 roughly marking the divide between the Smoky Hill and Arkansas basins. The western half of the state is rated good along with a small part of the Flint Hills near El Dorado. Roughly flat treeless plains. There's where wind farms should go. A wind farm near Lawrence makes as much sense as a hydro electric project on the Arkansas or Cimarron Rivers. It's the wrong shade of green!

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