Monday, October 3, 2011
South central Kansas is gearing up for the state's largest wind farm. It will cover four counties and offer benefits to the state, and landowners.
The wind farm will be twice the size of Kansas' largest current farm. The new farm will cover 66,000 acres across Sumner, Kingman, Barber and Harper counties.
The investment cost is $800 million.
"Look how windy it is today. It's usually always windy in Kansas, and we have the wind. We just as well use it for something," said Aurora Dick, Kingman county landowner.
The farm, called Flat Ridge II, will be built by BP Wind Energy.
More than 200 landowners will give a portion of their property to the 419-megawatt farm.
"I think it's worth it. Where it would be is pasture land, and the cattle will still graze around the poles," said Paul Dick, Kingman county landowner.
"It's good for the landowners. They don't have a crop every year, but they have a wind every year," said Robert Lee, landowner.
Seventy-five percent of the power will be exported to Missouri, Iowa and Oklahoma.
BP says it will also pay the landowners a total of at least $1 million a year in royalties to use their land.
"We think it's a tremendous benefit for us. It's cheap electricity, and for our pocket books," said Lee.
Landowners say the best part is the fact that wind energy is a smart, clean and reliable source, especially in Kansas.
"I think it's great. It's one of the cleanest energy sources we have, and we're all for it. We're pushing for it, and we're ready to go," said Ron Mathes, son of landowner.
"It's always here, and there's no after-effects of the wind when it gets too high. The wind isn't going to create a climatic problem," said Lee.