Large scale commercial wind farms will be banned in Sedgwick County under new standards that have been adopted by the county commission.
The standards were developed this year in response to a controversial wind farm proposal in Reno County, and a moratorium was placed on consideration of new wind and solar projects in Sedgwick County until the standards and requirements could be worked out.
Dave Yearout with the Metropolitan Area Planning Department said the large scale wind farms will be prohibited because of the impact they could have within a five-mile radius of airport facilities across Sedgwick County. He said smaller scale wind and solar generating facilities can still be considered if they are accessories to individual properties. Yearout said large scale solar facilities could still be allowed, but they would need FAA approval if they are within a mile of airport facilities, and the county will have other standards to regulate the placement of solar conversion systems.
Commissioner Lacey Cruse said the county is still supporting wind and solar energy, but not the large scale conversion systems for wind power. She said the county will support solar conversion systems and smaller scale wind systems. Cruse said technology for renewable energy will change in the future, and the county will be open to consider that.
Commissioner Jim Howell says he has had concerns about the impact of wind energy systems on airports and aircraft, and he’s satisfied that the county requirements will take that into consideration.
Commission chairman David Dennis expressed thanks to planning staff for their work on the issue and he believes the work that has been done will address any questions that may be brought up.
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