It is my understanding the Ellsworth County Commissioners have no written agreement with the wind farm people to decommission the wind turbines when that time comes. And it will come eventually. Nothing lasts forever.
Turbines certainly don’t last forever and they need constant repair. California is full of abandoned turbines. It costs a $1,000,000 to remove ONE turbine so multiply that by hundreds. We’re talking millions and millions and millions of dollars to get these things out of Ellsworth and Lincoln Counties alone once they have served their usefulness to foreign investors.
Keep in mind that without U.S. government tax credits, wind farms wouldn’t be profitable. Those are our tax dollars we’re talking about that they are using.
I say, let the landowners on whose land the turbine blades will flay at the wind be responsible for their removal. Make it mandatory. Every last crumb of concrete and all the steel, copper and toxic waste must go. All the tons of gravel must go.
Those of us who haven’t profited from them, and don’t want to, should not be responsible in any direct or indirect way for incurring any of the wind farm operational costs or risking the lives of our local firemen and equipment to put out turbine related grass fires or pay for roads and bridges for their use or decommissioning and removing them.
Abandoned towers are full of toxic waste, leaking hydraulic fluids from gearboxes and who knows what else. No one wants to touch these things once they have been decommissioned.
The turbines are coming in “¦ so who’s going to take them out? The emissions alone from manufacturing the turbines and putting them in place with the truck emissions hauling them here will cause more contaminants in the air and global warming than wind energy produced could compensate for.
Well, we know from the way wind farm owners operate that the people who are here dealing with farmers and commissioners won’t be around much longer. Once the profits are no longer there, the company will dissolve, or be sold and re-sold and then abandoned when there is no more money to be made off them. Just do some research on how easy it is for an LLC, a limited liability company, to have its assets transferred to the parent company so the LLC can go bankrupt and leave its responsibilities behind. It happens all the time.
And, it is my educated guess that, in time, we will be left with an abandoned wind farm, scarring the hills to the north for all to see. Tourists certainly will scurry on through Kansas to avoid these. Landowners with dangerous towers on their land will want “someone to do something about it”. No one wants to live near a wind farm”¦let alone an abandoned one.
This is a short video of an abandoned wind farm in Hawaii that was built in 1996. It didn’t take many years to abandon it. Just picture this being located at the intersection of I-70 and 156 in Ellsworth and Lincoln Counties and extending 16 miles long and 4 miles wide.
By Peg Britton
2 April 2007
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