Wind Energy Industry Issues

(Jamie) Good morning and welcome back to Farm Factor at the Kansas Energy Conference. Let’s join Duane as he and Alan discuss the wind energy industry in Kansas.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you with AGam in Kansas while at the Kansas Energy Conference in Topeka, a chance to catch up with Alan Anderson with Polsinelli out of the Kansas City Office. And Alan your group obviously deals as a law firm with a lot of different issues around energy. Speaking specifically about wind projects you’ve been involved with a number of those here in Kansas. Give us a little background on some of the issues from your perspective that not only land owners, but the industry deals with in the wind industry. (Alan) Right. We’ve had the fortune of working with most of the projects in Kansas. And what we’ve found is, fortunately the wind industry is very collaborative with the land owners, with the local communities, with of course state governments and everyone along the process. For the actual land owners, usually the farmers, the ranchers, it’s been just a fantastic boom to both their ability to continue family farms, there’s a new source of revenue, there’s an infusion of usually tax or similar dollars that go into the community that help with the schools, with all the different things. So, for where these projects are taking place, it’s been really a good collaborative effort with the communities, but also with the local landowners themselves. And they do a great job of communication on those. (Duane) We think about some of the issues that come up, primarily the only one is an aesthetic issue and that has been a problem in some areas, unfortunate as it may be. (Alan) Yea and there’s great sensitivity. There are certain areas of course where projects don’t happen in Kansas, in the region for example where the aesthetic or the view shed is particularly important or the natural resource, it could be grasses, it could be other things. And the industry does take great pains to work with the states and Fish and Wildlife in all places to avoid those. Ultimately there’s going to be something in the air that people will see; there’s a turbine. And of course that’s up to individual tastes and whether the people view that as actually something that they appreciate partially because of what it does. You might see a grain silo and some people don’t like that. Some people view it as that’s what our community is. This is another revenue stream; it’s another part of farming. In this case it’s wind farming. So, generally people have actually ended up being very pleased with it and those kind of things. There’s always going to be some that don’t. (Duane) Obviously we’ve had some tremendous growth in a very short period of time, I guess in my perspective of wind farms, if you will call them that, in Kansas. Where are we at currently? Are we at a steady pace of growth or a slow down? (Alan) We’re right now in a busy time. We’ve got a lot of projects that are coming on. And partially one of the great things is the cost of wind power has become very…in fact it’s better than another other source of energy that we have from a cost perspective. So, we are now doing projects in Kansas and particularly in Kansas, but around the country based on purely they are the most economic source of energy. So, we’ve had an uptake on activity that will continue for some period of time, which is great for tax dollars, revenue flow into the state and then ultimately it’s a good thing for rate payers and things because this is…you get 20 year power purchase agreements that we all get a benefit from where that price will be static through the entire process or with some very, very low increase that gives us some protection against what are likely to be over that 20 year period a higher rate of utility pricing going up. (Duane) Our thanks to Alan Anderson, joining us here at the Kansas Energy Conference in Topeka for AGam in Kansas. Jamie we’ll send it back to you in studio.
(Jamie) Thanks Duane. Folks, stay with us as Duane catches up next with Tracy Streeter, Director of the Kansas Water Office.

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