Archive for Thursday, July 5, 2007

Wind energy neglected in Kansas

July 5, 2007

Kansans can walk outside many days of the year and see strong limbs bent by the relentless prairie wind. What we are observing and live with every season of the year is a clean, sustainable energy source that is mostly untapped.

Kansas has the third highest potential among the 50 states to generate wind energy. It's not completely untapped, as Dr. Peter Bock's local wind generator illustrates, and the state does rank 10th amongst the states in generating wind energy.

But as with other energy sources, there are problems. Wind farms, with their large arrays of huge windmills, have proved just as vulnerable to not-in-my-backyard attitudes as other power-generating plants. A proposed wind farm in the Flint Hills was stopped by neighbors opposed to the disruption of the scenic landscape and it would be hard not to advocate the protection of such a precious state resource.

Unfortunately, the area of Kansas with the most open space and most conducive to wind energy are remote from the state's urban areas.

Congressman Jerry Moran, who represents western Kansas, is suggesting the government work with the state's utility companies to bring transmission lines to the vast area. That, we suspect, will take public incentives and a good deal of planning to realize maximum efficiency. We would hope the congressman's interest will kick start that important effort.

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