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Old 05-19-2011, 08:03 PM
 
182 posts, read 130,046 times
Reputation: 221
Default Flint Hills off limits?

Sam Brownback has decided to make a much larger area off limits to wind farms in Central and Eastern Kansas..

Governor defends decision to limit Flint Hills wind farms | Wichita Eagle


The reason I bring it to this room is to prove to you once again, the state of Kansas does little to nothing to promote economic growth to anywhere not named Manhattan, Junction City, Topeka, or KC metro on the Kansas side..
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Volker, Kansas City, MO
12,062 posts, read 17,842,434 times
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I really hope no one takes offense at this, because I've seen the prairie and it does have beauty to it, but the idea of it being a tourist mecca makes me laugh. A lot.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:53 AM
 
Location: Madison, WI
14,971 posts, read 19,703,605 times
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Brownback just wants to play up to big coal to build more power plants in KS instead of actually being forward-thinking by building wind farms.
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Old 05-22-2011, 11:15 PM
 
29,990 posts, read 18,712,271 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GraniteStater View Post
Brownback just wants to play up to big coal to build more power plants in KS instead of actually being forward-thinking by building wind farms.
Do you have links to show Brownback is pushing for coal over wind? This article shows that KS Governors have been against putting wind farms in the Flint Hills since at least 2004.
Nature, energy interests clash in Flint Hills symposium at KU / LJWorld.com

Personally, I'm glad about this protection of more of the Flint Hills. There are plenty of less attractive places to build additional wind farms that will be less intrusive and lower impact. Besides, we don't have much in the way of Prarie Chickens left in Missouri and I'm glad Kansas is protecting theirs.
http://www.salina.com/rdnews/story/p...kens-3-16-2009

Johnson Co. just loosened their restrictions for those in rural areas to take advantage of small wind:
County eases rural wind-power rules - Johnson County Sun News Story - Kansas City

I believe El Dorado is close to completing their alternative plan to net metering for those wanting to participate in small wind via Westar. City continues to work on agreements for wind turbine - El Dorado, KS - El Dorado Times

It's been a month or less since I read about a new wind farm from which KCP&L (a.k.a. Great Plains Energy) will be purchasing more renewable energy. That was supposed to be coming from Cimmaron. I'm unclear if this is the same wind farm (BP) that is impacted by the tallgrass prairie designaition or not.

Is there any reason Wichita isn't considering hydro tubines since the river runs right through town? Or have they already done that? I've been trying to figure out why KCMO & KCKS as well as Lawrence do not do the same. Though, IIRC, North Lawrence does have one small hydro plant on the Kaw that has been there more than 50 years.

*A moderator should probably move this thread over to the Kansas forum.

Last edited by lifelongMOgal; 05-22-2011 at 11:38 PM.. Reason: link added
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:39 AM
 
Location: Middle America
16,379 posts, read 12,993,201 times
Reputation: 18806
Because I love the prairie, I strongly prefer that it NOT be a tourist mecca. Nothing destroys the integrity of the ecosystem of tallgrass prairie more than a bunch of people showing up.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
401 posts, read 478,759 times
Reputation: 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifelongMOgal View Post
Is there any reason Wichita isn't considering hydro tubines since the river runs right through town? Or have they already done that? I've been trying to figure out why KCMO & KCKS as well as Lawrence do not do the same. Though, IIRC, North Lawrence does have one small hydro plant on the Kaw that has been there more than 50 years.
Lawrence already has a dam, the Bowersock Dam (1837) produces 2.35MW.

Further dams are not permitted on the Kansas river as it is deemed a navigable stream by the Federal Government. This prevents the construction of dams and certain bridges. This was put into place after Kansans declared that building such structures on the river were a "crime against the public welfare of Kansas" (1913). Today, the only commercial traffic on the Kaw is for dredging.

Wichita lies on the Arkansas River. Hydroelectric power would not be a wise investment here as flows have been consistently dropping due to heavy irrigation for the plains and population growth in Colorado tapping the river at its source.

In KCMO and KCK damning the Missouri or the Kansas is not feasible with dense populations within what would be the reservoir. Also, the Missouri must be kept clear for vital commerce up through the midwest.

Finally, dams are hardly the answer, IMO. They displace populations of people and creatures. They cause water scarcity for other cities that rely on the rivers. Also, they aren't even green. Ignoring the massive fuel costs and byproducts from their construction, reservoirs create CO2 and Methane rich areas. All the dead stuff that would normally fertilize river banks or wash out to sea to be consumed end up rotting at the bottom of the reservoir where CO2 and methane are allowed to accumulate and then escape after every disturbance.

-------------

It seems to me that Flint Hills isn't even that great of a spot to put a wind farm. With better winds out to the west, I think it makes more sense to build elsewhere. This is especially important b/c wind turbines, especially the behemoths the utilities build, are noisy eyesores that not only change the physical beauty of a place but also deteriorates the local environment (anomalous temperature variations, disrupted bird migrations etc). With those in mind, I think it is prudent to select only the places with the greatest wind energy potential.

Last edited by RichMonk; 05-23-2011 at 12:26 PM..
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
7,228 posts, read 8,436,011 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichMonk View Post
Lawrence already has a dam, the Bowersock Dam (1837) produces 2.35MW.

Further dams are not permitted on the Kansas river as it is deemed a navigable stream by the Federal Government. This prevents the construction of dams and certain bridges. This was put into place after Kansans declared that building such structures on the river were a "crime against the public welfare of Kansas" (1913). Today, the only commercial traffic on the Kaw is for dredging.

Wichita lies on the Arkansas River. Hydroelectric power would not be a wise investment here as flows have been consistently dropping due to heavy irrigation for the plains and population growth in Colorado tapping the river at its source.

In KCMO and KCK damning the Missouri or the Kansas is not feasible with dense populations within what would be the reservoir. Also, the Missouri must be kept clear for vital commerce up through the midwest.

Finally, dams are hardly the answer, IMO. They displace populations of people and creatures. They cause water scarcity for other cities that rely on the rivers. Also, they aren't even green. Ignoring the massive fuel costs and byproducts from their construction, reservoirs create CO2 and Methane rich areas. All the dead stuff that would normally fertilize river banks or wash out to sea to be consumed end up rotting at the bottom of the reservoir where CO2 and methane are allowed to accumulate and then escape after every disturbance.

-------------

It seems to me that Flint Hills isn't even that great of a spot to put a wind farm. With better winds out to the west, I think it makes more sense to build elsewhere. This is especially important b/c wind turbines, especially the behemoths the utilities build, are noisy eyesores that not only change the physical beauty of a place but also deteriorates the local environment (anomalous temperature variations, disrupted bird migrations etc). With those in mind, I think it is prudent to select only the places with the greatest wind energy potential.
Is anything "green"? I swear, these stupid florescent light bulbs suck and don't last any longer than the ones they are replacing. But they sure look like they take a much larger carbon footprint to create and dispose of.

I'm also tired of putting corn in my gas tank which reduces my mileage and gums up my engine and those green agri-fuel farms are ripping out forests across the world which really makes a lot of sense.

Now I don't agree with two gas guzzling SUVs in every driveway either. Everything has to be one extreme or the other.

But to keep this on topic, the Flint Hills are great. It's not a destination tourist attraction, but simply a pretty part of Kansas and the midwest. Why would they be a destination? Kansas needs to stop trying so hard. It will never be a tourism destination.

But I'm sure wind power is not all it's cracked up to be. They are fighting with them here in Maryland too. Trying to build massive wind farms out in the ocean. From what I have read, it's not real efficient. But maybe it's greener than coal or nuclear. I don't know.

Well that was a pretty worthless rambling post. Oh well.
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:30 PM
 
216 posts, read 302,567 times
Reputation: 84
Well it was rambling because it is such an overwhelming topic, and I for one feel your pain. Certainly the idea of corn in the gas tank is a bad one. Dedicating so much land to corn production is no more environmentally sound than strip mining. Mono-production like that is terrible for bio-diversity, and besides, what do they use to fertilize all that corn? Petroleum based fertilizers. So we use oil to make corn to process and ship to save oil.
That makes me crazy.
I think wind has a lot of potential and it is not as unattractive as many people make it out to be. They have had some luck with it in Upstate NY where I am from. The windmills are actually pretty cool and neat to look at. It worked for Holland.

Having said that, I can understand that in huge numbers they could be very invasive and destructive, and I can see why people would not want them in certain areas. I don't know enough about the Flint Hills to comment. I think they could work lots of places.

So, I have matched you ramble for ramble, KCMO. A bit of a no win topic, and I sympathize.
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Old 05-23-2011, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
401 posts, read 478,759 times
Reputation: 208
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
Well that was a pretty worthless rambling post. Oh well.
That is exactly the attitude that arises whenever talking about "green" energy. I totally understand, it feels like going in progressively smaller concentric circles.

Now, I pointed out how bad dams are and it is all true. However, we needn't forget that humans, and Americans in particular, have been masters of getting machines to do our bidding.

There are river turbines which might be an option. These do no require a dam but, like wind, are not persistent source of energy.

Thorium nuclear reactors are on the horizon and these have some exciting properties. They burn cleaner, meaning they leave a small fraction of the waste which also has a shorter half life. Thorium is far more available than Uranium and is easily collected from the surface or near surface which reduces the ill effects of mining uranium ore. They are safer, in that they are less likely to go into meltdown.

New technologies are now allowing the direct capture of heat into electricity. This will boost the output of solar panels as well as increase energy recovery from engines and heating systems. Imagine the heat of the sun supplying the electricity to cool your home. That's just neat.

Personally, I think wind energy makes more sense on a widely distributed small form factor approach. The big utilities want to build multi-gigawatt facilities from which they can closely control supply and price. It makes more sense to build small wind farms using small turbines that serve a community. Additional power would be supplied from smaller personal turbines that can capture winds on your own property (heck, even hook it up to some kind of kids playground set and make those little ones provide the power for their Saturday morning cartoons).

The real big breakthrough that needs to happen in energy is storage. We would be transitioning to a system where power cannot be produced on demand.
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Old 05-26-2011, 03:52 PM
 
29,990 posts, read 18,712,271 times
Reputation: 12323
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichMonk View Post
Lawrence already has a dam, the Bowersock Dam (1837) produces 2.35MW.

Further dams are not permitted on the Kansas river as it is deemed a navigable stream by the Federal Government. This prevents the construction of dams and certain bridges. This was put into place after Kansans declared that building such structures on the river were a "crime against the public welfare of Kansas" (1913). Today, the only commercial traffic on the Kaw is for dredging.

Wichita lies on the Arkansas River. Hydroelectric power would not be a wise investment here as flows have been consistently dropping due to heavy irrigation for the plains and population growth in Colorado tapping the river at its source.

In KCMO and KCK damning the Missouri or the Kansas is not feasible with dense populations within what would be the reservoir. Also, the Missouri must be kept clear for vital commerce up through the midwest.

Finally, dams are hardly the answer, IMO. They displace populations of people and creatures. They cause water scarcity for other cities that rely on the rivers. Also, they aren't even green. Ignoring the massive fuel costs and byproducts from their construction, reservoirs create CO2 and Methane rich areas. All the dead stuff that would normally fertilize river banks or wash out to sea to be consumed end up rotting at the bottom of the reservoir where CO2 and methane are allowed to accumulate and then escape after every disturbance.

-------------

It seems to me that Flint Hills isn't even that great of a spot to put a wind farm. With better winds out to the west, I think it makes more sense to build elsewhere. This is especially important b/c wind turbines, especially the behemoths the utilities build, are noisy eyesores that not only change the physical beauty of a place but also deteriorates the local environment (anomalous temperature variations, disrupted bird migrations etc). With those in mind, I think it is prudent to select only the places with the greatest wind energy potential.
I wasn't suggesting the contruction of dams for hyro-electric, but tather the use of turbines. I believe I read not too long ago there had been a study for some approved for placement on the Missouri River somewhere between Booneville and Jefferson City, possibly along the bridge that spans I-70 at Rocheport. Can't find the link now....sigh.

Quote:
New technologies are now allowing the direct capture of heat into electricity. This will boost the output of solar panels as well as increase energy recovery from engines and heating systems. Imagine the heat of the sun supplying the electricity to cool your home. That's just neat.
Are those technologies available for PV solar panels now? I'd really like to purchase/install mine before this summer gets too far along. If you have a link that would be great!
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