wind energy

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service/File photo

Large-scale commercial wind farms won’t be built in Sedgwick County.

Brian Grimmett / KMUW

Members of the group Keep Reno Heavenly showed a mix of emotions after the Reno County Commission denied NextEra Energy a permit to build a wind farm in the southeastern part of the county.

On one hand, all of its efforts had paid off. Members of the group had worked for months to organize and participate in public hearings, and they finally got the result they wanted — the proposed 220 megawatt wind farm with more than 80 turbines reaching 500 feet in the air would not be built.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service/File photo

Wind farms have been sprouting across Kansas horizons for nearly 20 years, planting ever-more-giant turbines capable of transforming breezes into clean-energy megawatts and remaking the plains-and-prairie landscape.

The rules about how close those towering structures can stand to a road, to a home, or to a property line vary by project and from one county after the next.

Brian Grimmett

Standing near the corner of his property in southeastern Reno County, Nick Egli looked east and pointed to the proposed locations for several 500-feet-tall wind turbines.

Egli is standing on a grass airstrip he’s spent the last 10 years building. He pictures a few more homes, some hangars and, eventually, a residential community for pilots of small planes.

“If there’s turbines there, you’ve completely killed everything I’ve been working on the last 10 years,” he said.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service/File photo

Sedgwick County commissioners approved a temporary ban this week on the development of commercial wind farms and solar energy systems in the county.

Coal Power Plant - Lawrence Energy Center
Brian Grimmett

Wind is beginning to challenge coal’s status as the primary energy source for electricity produced in Kansas.

Wichita State University

Researchers at Wichita State University have found a better way to protect wind turbines from costly lightning strikes.

When lightning strikes the blade of a wind turbine it can blow the tip right off. That means costly repairs and unexpected downtime for the wind turbine.

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

One morning after the next, semi-trailer trucks get off Interstate 70 near Colby in west-central Kansas.

They haul parts of giant wind turbines in 150-foot-long sections, the pieces to the Solomon Forks wind farm and the next monumental phase of the Kansas bet on wind energy. The farm will plant 105 turbines in the prairie, each towering 250 feet high.

The project is one of a wave of wind farms under construction in Kansas that will add 20 percent more electrical generation to the state’s output.

Brian Grimmett / KMUW

  

Early on the morning of March 16, wind provided 60 percent of the region’s electric needs. That number set a record, breaking an earlier one set only a week and a half earlier.

Wind power also recently set records for highest peak generation at 15,690 MW and continuously sustained generation of more than 13,000 MW for three days.

Joseph Novak / Flickr / Creative Commons

Wind energy groups are praising the recently passed tax bill for keeping in place the renewable energy production tax credit. 

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