(Jamie) Welcome back! Let’s catch up with Kyle and Brett as they discuss working with landowners in western Kansas to transmit wind generated electricity.
(Kyle) Hi this is Kyle Bauer in Dodge City. I have the opportunity to visit with Brett Leopold. He is with ITC. ITC is a unique company for the state of Kansas, deals with a lot of farmers, a lot of rural areas, but not necessarily a name that everyone will know. Brett, tell us about ITC. (Brett) ITC is an Independent Transmission Company. We built high voltage electric transmission lines. And in the last several years, we’ve built almost 500 miles of transmission line in the state of Kansas. Two large projects, both originating in Spearville. And one running from Spearville north to the Nebraska border and another line which we recently put in service originated at Spearville and that continued to Medicine Lodge and on into Wichita. (Kyle) Now it appears when you talk about Spearville then you’re talking about the wind industry. Do you work specifically with wind generated electricity? (Brett) We don’t work specifically with wind generated electricity. in fact, our lines are available to transmit power from all generation sources and do transmit power from all generation sources. These projects in western Kansas were identified by the regional transmission planners in part because of the need for additional capacity to move wind power, but they also generally provide greater reliability, more efficient access to low cost power to all the customers in western Kansas in this region and for the utilities that serve those customers. (Kyle) You know it’s my perception that as I think about long distance transmission lines most of ’em run east and west. And you’re running north and south. Is that a coincidence or is that part of the plan? (Brett) It is part of the plan. Again, the regional transmission planners identify a great need for additional north-south transmission capacity reaching up into Nebraska, as well as a need to have more efficient connections between western and eastern Kansas that was served by the project from Spearville to Wichita. So, it was an intentional decision of the planners to enhance and make a more robust grid flowing in both those directions. (Kyle) Dealing with farmers and agricultural land owners what are your biggest challenges? (Brett) You know we’ve had a great relationship with land owners. We’ve acquired easements from hundreds of farmers in the state of Kansas, and I would say we work very closely with each individual to identify their concerns about our project. Obviously some farmers are using their land for crops, they may have center pivot irrigation. They care about where the line is in proximity to their roads and to the way that they like to harvest their crops. Other land owners are grazing livestock. Some are using their ground for hunting. So, we just work with each individual land owner and try to find the least intrusive, most acceptable way to allow them to continue to use their land as they were using it before the project came through their property. (Kyle) That was Brett Leopold with ITC. This is Kyle Bauer reporting from Dodge City.
(Jamie) Thanks, Kyle. Next Ryan Witt, Noxious Weed Director for Stafford County and last year’s President of the Noxious Weed Directors statewide discusses the variety of weeds found across the state.