Wind Power Plans Diverge in Kansas

The Kansas Wind Energy Task Force presented Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) with recommendations on wind energy in the state that may have the effect of restricting development in the Flint Hills area, according the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

Topeka, Kansas – June 14, 2004 [] The task force was torn between encouraging wind power and protecting the tallgrass prairie. It recognizes wind power as an “environmentally clean energy input” that has a role to play in “improving the state’s energy balance, promoting future energy security and independence, and could enhance economic development in rural parts of Kansas.” At the same time, it notes that nearly two-thirds of the remaining 4% of the original Tallgrass Prairie in North America lies within the Flint Hills and is “one of the rarest and most endangered ecosystems in the world.” Because the task force was unable to reach consensus on a single plan that could accommodate both interests, it presents two significantly different implementation strategies: one prohibits wind energy development in the Flint Hills, and the other avoids a moratorium and seeks to encourage use of siting guidelines to protect the tallgrass prairie. Gov. Sebelius formed the task force on December 2, 2003, and directed it “to thoroughly examine and consider all of the key issues involved and recommend fundamental guidelines, principles, and best practices that can be utilized by local governments, landowners, project developers, and other interested stakeholders to site future wind energy projects in this environmentally sensitive region of the state.” The Governor further noted that the task force’s primary goal should be “to develop recommendations that will help decision-makers find an appropriate balance that promotes our state’s wind-energy potential and preserves those natural ecosystems and places of scenic beauty, like the Flint Hills and the Tallgrass Prairie.” Much of the task force’s recommendations will require legislative action. Gov. Sebelius urged all stakeholders to regard the recommendations as preliminary until the legislature decides which path to follow. Article courtesy of AWEA’s Wind Energy Weekly
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