On January 7, 2012, you published “Zoning Board Looks at Turbine Setback Requirements.” While Indeck Energy certainly appreciates the work of reporter J.W. Keene, there were a few factual inaccuracies and some confusion regarding issues surrounding the proposed wind farm for Pratt County.
Regarding the Pratt Municipal Airport: The article indicated that Indeck Energy would “eliminate the proposed wind farm project around [the airport].” Indeck has never proposed a project “around” the Pratt Municipal Airport. We have worked with the airport from the beginning to ensure both entities could coexist. We have received approval from the FAA of our turbine locations. The zoning board is currently proposing an 8 mile setback, which eliminates a significant portion of land and calls into uncertainty the future of the project, eliminating this substantial economic opportunity for Pratt County.
Regarding turbine setback from paved roads: Indeck has stated that it would like to base the setback from paved roads as a ratio of turbine height. A standard setback for wind turbines from paved roads throughout the US is 1.1 times the turbine height. Indeck has negotiated and signed a contract with Pratt County that would uphold this standard on paved roads. Indeck and Pratt County have agreed that on non-paved rural country roads, turbines will be setback at 40 percent of the turbine height.
Regarding the height of turbines: Indeck has never stated the current height or future potential height of its wind turbines. However, a height of 800 feet, as was mentioned in the article, is highly unlikely and most probably, impossible. Indeck’s turbines will likely be 427 feet tall, and as there may be some variation in sizes, it is most sensible to base the setback distance as a multiple of the turbine height, versus a fixed distance.
Regarding tornado damage: Indeck has never made a statement regarding damaged wind turbines or falling wind turbines as a result of tornados. However, the ONLY modern wind turbines that have ever fallen have been as a result of a direct, and extremely rare, tornado strike.
Regarding becoming a public utility: No developer has ever become a public utility and no utility has ever used Eminent Domain to build a wind farm. Attorney Patrick Hughes statement in the January 7 article is incorrect; a wind farm would never be allowed under the definition of Eminent Domain. Becoming a public utility is not and will never be a part of Indeck’s plan.
If any member of the Pratt County community has any questions regarding the proposed wind farm project, I encourage them to give me a call. It is truly our goal to work with the government and citizens of Pratt County to develop a mutually beneficial economic engine.
Karl G. Dahlstrom
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