March 20, 2020

Apex Energy/Bourbon County Commission agreements signed

Loretta George | Fort Scott Biz | March 19, 2020 |

The controversial wind energy business is coming to Bourbon County.

Following a request to Apex Clean Energy, the wind energy company from Charlottesville, Virginia for specifics on the project, the following statement was provided.

Apex Clean Energy entered into five agreements with the Bourbon County Commission last Friday, March 13, according to Helen Humphreys, public engagement manager for Apex.

“In addition to setting out how Jayhawk Wind (Jayhawk) will operate in the community, the agreements also empower the county to enforce the provisions and ensure residents’ concerns are addressed both during the construction process and once the project is operational,” according to the press release provided FortScott.Biz.

Julianna Pianelli, Apex Project Development Manager, said, “We appreciate the Bourbon County commissioners for their careful, objective review of the Jayhawk Wind agreements. We know that economic opportunity has been a priority for the county, and we are proud that Jayhawk will provide a new source of revenue, new jobs, and new customers for local businesses.”

The agreements with Bourbon County Commissioners are unique No other entity or individuals are similarly restricted in the use of county roads and given that Bourbon County does not have zoning restrictions, several of these agreements are entirely voluntary and reflect Apex’s commitment to community engagement, according to information provided by Humpherys.

The following was sent from Humphreys regarding the agreements with the Bourbon County Commission.

“Decommissioning Agreement

Decommissioning agreements are common in the wind industry and ensure that financial resources are available to remove the turbines and related facilities at the end of a project’s lifespan. The Jayhawk Decommissioning Agreement:

Contribution Agreement

The Contribution Agreement details the financial donation Jayhawk will make to Bourbon County if the project enters construction. Kansas law exempts renewable energy projects like Jayhawk from property taxes for the first ten years of operation, just as it does with a property such as farm equipment and other sources of energy production. In place of these taxes, wind developers often propose to donate funds to a county through a voluntary contribution agreement because we believe it is important that a project directly benefits its community.

In the Bourbon agreements, Jayhawk committed to making an initial payment of $407,812.50 to Bourbon County upon receiving notice to proceed with construction. This payment will be followed by nine annual payments of $365,625, and a final annual payment of $182,813.

After 10 years of operation, the tax exemption will expire, and Jayhawk will pay property taxes to the municipalities and school districts in which the project is located. According to the Jayhawk Wind Economic Impact Analysis:

Road Use Agreement

The Road Use Agreement (RUA) clearly outlines Jayhawk’s obligation to maintain or improve the county roadways it will use. According to the agreement, the county will prepare a pre-construction road survey and establish an inventory of the roads before construction. These tools will be used to both mitigate project impacts on local traffic during construction and to determine what repairs and improvements will be needed to return the roads to pre-construction condition.

Also, vehicles with a combined weight of 80,000 pounds or more will be required to stay on approved transportation routes.

Jayhawk Wind agrees to return the roads it uses during construction to a condition that is “as good or better” to that existing before construction. Also, Jayhawk will be obligated to make repairs to any roads damaged during construction that create a hazard to the traveling public.

The RUA ensures Bourbon County has the resources needed to oversee the project and details how Jayhawk Wind will coordinate with county officials, by providing:

Development Agreement

While Bourbon County is not a zoned county, Jayhawk voluntarily agreed to a few project design restrictions including:

Complaint Resolution Agreement

Jayhawk agreed to a complaint resolution process that ensures members of the public who make a complaint can have confidence that their concerns will be addressed. Moreover, it empowers the county to order a review of unresolved complaints by an independent engineer. The Development Agreement requires Jayhawk to:

“Cumulatively, these agreements enable the continued development of Jayhawk while providing certainty for Bourbon County that all residents will benefit either directly or indirectly from the project,” according to the information provided by Humphreys.

The Jayhawk Wind project is expected to be operational in 2021.according to the information from Humphreys. It will produce enough power to supply 70,000 average U.S. homes and will also provide significant economic benefits for the local economy, according to the information. This includes the creation of more than 115 construction jobs and seven long-term operations positions.

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