The proposed wind turbine project in southwest Bourbon County has long term consequences for the economy of the area.
Jayhawk Wind, the wind energy company proposing the project, is looking to use 28,000 acres of land in the county to produce electricity in the region, including Bourbon and Crawford counties.
The Jayhawk Wind project is being developed by Apex Clean Energy.
Apex Clean Energy develops, constructs, and operates utility-scale wind and solar power facilities across North America. Their team of more than 200 renewable energy experts uses a data-focused approach, according to its website. Apex Clean Energy, Inc. is located at 310 4th St. NE, Suite 300, Charlottesville, VA 22902
To see the Bourbon and Crawford County’s project analysis and a Jayhawk Wind press release which was published recently on FortScott.Biz, click below:
Wind farm production in Kansas has helped to lower CO2 emissions, according to a National Public Radio (NPR) article.
Kansas’ lower emissions is largely due to the rapid adoption of wind energy and a slow move away from coal-powered electricity.
“With the fast growth of cheap wind-generated electricity in Kansas, it’s become less profitable to run coal plants,” according to the article.
Click below to view:
There is a local controversy building about the proposed wind energy project.
A meeting of opponents to Jayhawk Wind project is planned for Bourbon and Crawford county residents, according to a press release.
The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, January 9, at Rodeway Inn, Ft. Scott, Ks.
Noise level and other issues have been questions the public has asked about the project.
Noise level is 50 dBa
Apex Clean Energy, says the noise is minimal.
“The majority of the sound produced from modern dynamic windmills will be limited to 50 decibels, quieter than a refrigerator as measured at a nearby house,” according to Helen Humphries, Public Engagement Manager for Apex Clean Energy, Inc.
To see community opinions on noise levels and other related issues at another wind farm site, view this Youtube from an Arkwright, NY wind turbine project controversy:
There are benefits
Some of the financial benefits go to landowners, schools and government entities, which are facing a decline in population and finances. The project will also provide some jobs: construction, operation, supply chain, and induced jobs.
“Construction jobs only last during the construction of the wind farm,” Dr. David Loomis, professor of economics at Illinois State University and co-founder of Center for Renewable Energy said in an interview with FortScott.Biz. Loomis is the author of the analysis. “Construction jobs last six months to a year, 318 jobs for the year (estimated). All estimates are full-time equivalency.”,
“Operational jobs…They last the life of the project,” Loomis said. “On-site wind turbine technicians, a site supervisor, some administrative support.”
“There will be supply chain jobs due to expenditures in the local economy…truck fuel, gravel, supplies, and other items.”
“The final category is induced jobs…spending, shopping, eating out, entertainment because of all other jobs created because people have more money to spend for that,” Loomis said.
“Induced long term jobs include landowners leasing their land, tax revenue going into the local economy, schools, county, so forth,” Loomis said.
Rural areas are hard hit economically.
“The agriculture sector has been hit hard over the last two cycles,” he said. “2005 was a great time to be on a corn or soybean farm, but they’ve gotten squeezed because of the rising costs of equipment and fertilization. Oversupply caused a downturn.”
“Rural economies are hurting, individual farms are feeling this punch. This lease payment will take little land out of production but can help stabilize family farms. It’s a fixed payment to them.”
Currently, Jayhawk Wind is leasing land from landowners in the area of southwest Bourbon County and northwest Crawford County, Humphries said.
School District Benefits
“There is no revenue until 2032 due to the property tax exemption.,” Loomis notes in the analysis reports. “Starting in 2032, USD 235 will receive over $161 thousand annually for the general fund, over $225 thousand for the ‘Other’ Fund which totals to over $2.4 million and over $3.3 million respectively.”
Renewable energy facilities are exempt from property taxes for 10-12 years.
“Kansas recently changed the way that it taxes wind energy projects,” according to Humphries.” Before 2016, renewable energy generating facilities such as wind farms were exempt from property taxes according to K.S.A. 79-201. Since 2016, renewable energy generators are exempt from property taxes for only twelve years if owned by an independent power producer and ten years if constructed by a regulated public utility per K.S.A. 79-259. After this exemption period, the wind energy project will pay property taxes to all the taxing jurisdictions.”
Bourbon County Government Benefits
“Typically, wind developers in Kansas enter into a contribution agreement to voluntarily support the county during the 10 or 12 year exemption period, as we expect Jayhawk Wind to do,” Humphries said. “Once the initial 10 or 12 year period as defined by state law concludes, the wind power project will increase the property tax base and create a new revenue source for education and other local government services, such as road maintenance, libraries, and cemeteries.”
To see other views on the school and local government issues, click below: