November 19, 2016

Residents voice concerns on wind energy project

By John Robinson | The Emporia Gazette | November 18, 2016 |

The Lyon County Commission heard from members of the community on the potential Reading Wind Energy project Thursday at its weekly meeting.

RES Americas proposed the wind energy development site on an area of 20,000 acres near Reading. On Nov. 9, the planning board recommended a zoning change for the project – changing almost 17,000 acres from agriculture to agriculture conditional use – which must now be voted on by the Lyon County Commission.

During the section for public comment, several members of the community voiced their concerns on the project, which included noise generation to the efficiency of wind turbines.

”As I understand it, when you put up a wind turbine you have to have another source of energy standing by,” Carl Antes said. “So when I learned you had to have 100 percent backup, that doesn’t sound too efficient to me.”

Antes presented research from the Energy and Environment Legal Institute – formerly known as the American Tradition Institute – which according to the group’s website “seeks to address and correct onerous federal and state governmental actions that negatively impact energy and the environment.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the need for a backup is something all power plants share.

“No power plant is 100 percent reliable,” the website reads. “During a power plant outage – whether a conventional plant or a wind plant – backup is provided by the entire interconnected utility system. The system operating strategy strives to make best use of all elements of the overall system, taking into account the operating characteristics of each generating unit and planning for contingencies such as plant or transmission line outages.”

According to commissioner Rollie Martin, the re-zoning issue of the wind energy project will be voted on by the commission during the Dec. 1 action session. Commissioner Scott Briggs said he will recuse himself during the vote due to owning land in the area.

In other business:

Commissioners approved the $18,490 quote from PrairieLand Partners John Deere for the purchase of an 2016 Schilte XH1000 wing mower. The mower will be paid for using the multi-year fund.

Matt Collins, safety supervisor, said the county’s current mowers are in sub-optimal condition.

“One is in bad shape and doubles for parts,” Collins said. “The other we got in 2004 and has quite a bit of wear on it.”

The Lyon County Commission meets at 8 a.m. on Thursdays with a 9:45 a.m. section for public comment.

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