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Renewable energy company still seeking wind farm here

Marshall County Economic Development director George McCune told Marshall County commissioners on Monday that RPMAccess, a wind energy company in West Des Moines, Iowa, is continuing its plans to build a wind farm between Beattie and Summerfield.

“RPM is actively trying to find a market for the energy that the wind farm will produce,” McCune said.

The company seeks to get the building started on the project this year, McCune said, because federal subsidies for wind farms are expected to expire at the start of 2014.

According to RPMAccess’ website, the company has developed more than 1,200 megawatts of operating wind projects in the past decade. RPMA has offices in Chicago, Ill.; Richmond, Va.; Jupiter, Fla.; Joice, Iowa; Edgewood, Iowa; Marshalltown, Iowa; Rippey, Iowa; and Hawkeye, Iowa.

McCune says he’s been in frequent contact with RPMA representatives and the company is planning to have 35 wind turbines built for the new wind farm, which may have its power transmitted to metropolitan areas.

The deadline on government subsidies has caused some clean energy companies to fast track wind farm projects. NextEra Energy Resources, another wind energy company, is building a $138 million wind farm near Diller, Neb.

McCune said that wind farm is to be completed by the end of this year so that NextEra can qualify for federal tax subsidies.

“Deadlines tend to get people moving,” said Marshall County commissioner Bob Connell.

Also at Monday’s meeting county public works administrator Mike Craig told commissioners the Kansas Department of Transportation had a company, Trans Systems, complete bridge-scouring work on bridges in the state. KDOT is asking Marshall County to close two bridges until repairs are made. The bridges, one located between Sections 8 and 9 of Cleveland Township on 27th Road and the other in Section 17 of Waterville Township on 2nd Terrace, will be closed until KDOT has a plan of action and repairs are made.

In other action, commissioners:

— Approved the following purchases: Kansas County Appraiser’s Association, Meade, Kan., Orion training and conference fee, $640; Lamunyon, Clay Center, courthouse and sheriff’s department air duct cleaning, $22,100; Marshall County Partnership for Growth, Marysville, donation to NCPRC Revolving Loan fund, $2,500; Steven A. Kraushaar, Marysville, court-appointed attorney, $544; Brown County treasurer, Hiawatha, share of four-county budget, $607; Meyer Laboratory, Blue Springs, Mo., cleaning supplies, $639.

— Accepted the resignation of Paula Brown as Franklin Township treasurer effective May 3.

— Approved a memorandum of understanding between Marshall County and the Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs allowing for use of office space in the Helvering Center.

— Met with Agency on Aging Director Heather Ruhkamp. Ruhkamp told the board Pat Brady, Marshall County Area Agency on Aging council member, sent an email to state Sen. Dennis Pyle, Hiawatha, and Rep. Sharon Schwartz, Washington, outlining the council’s concerns with the new transportation-calling center in Manhattan. There is a meeting set up for Monday in Topeka to discuss concerns.

— Ruhkamp also told the board she would like to hold a Senior Health Expo and open house in the fall at the Helvering Center.

— Approved Connell’s signing a letter of certification that $17,600 is in place for Marshall County as a match for the North Central Regional Planning Commission’s Revolving Loan Fund in perpetuity.