EDINA, Mo. – Wind energy is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of energy in the country, with rural communities like Adair and Schuyler counties shifting toward the renewable resource.
Knox County is the latest Heartland county to have wind energy proposed, but the community is heavily split on the topic.
Tenaska, a power company based out of Omaha, Nebraska, says it has a plan to start building a wind farm in Knox county by the end of this year.
The company has already been talking to county leaders and landowners about the project.
“The next step is going to the design phase, where we will design the project, said Monte Ten Kley, Tenaska director of strategic development and acquisitions. “We will sit down with landowners about the layout and then work on moving the project to construction by the end of the year.”
The plan does have opposition with many concern about the impact it will have on the county.
The first concern is about the effects on roads, with major damage having been done to roads in Adair and Schuyler counties when their wind farm was constructed.
However, Tenaska has a clause in its contract to pay for any repairs.
“That allows us to use the roads, but also requires us to put the roads back in the same shape we found them,” Ten Kley said. “It also requires us to put up a security deposit to cover the cost of the roads if for some reason the project doesn’t cover our responsibilities”
Another major concern was the rights of the property owners and those around them, especially when it comes to hunting and farming.
That is something the company says is should not be a problem.
“A lot of the things that have been discussed are either in the development agreement or were included in the lease,” Ten Kley said. “Landowners can continue to hunt on their property, they can continue to farm and use the property as they see fit. What we have the ability to do is just install a wind farm. ”
One final concern is the feeling from the community that the company is invading their home.
The company’s response? We’re here to work with the community members who do.
“Anytime that you have a development project, you’re going to have people who support this and people who are unhappy with the situation…” Ten Kley said. “Missouri has been a traditionally been a individual rights state where that’s important. There are some landowners who want to participate, and there are some landowners who don’t want to participate. We want to work with the landowners who want to participate in the project.”
Knox County commissioners have yet to see the contract, but once they sit down with the company they will vote on the proposal.