Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Wind power

Wichita Eagle | 11/22/2005 | Wind turbines begin generating electricity in the Flint Hills prairie:
All but 10 of 100 turbines that form the Elk River Wind Farm are up and running, providing electricity to a Missouri-based energy company.

The $190 million project, which scatters the giant towers over 8,000 acres of privately owned land south of Beaumont, has been delivering power since Oct. 15, well ahead of the Dec. 31 date originally projected.

The 10 non-functioning turbines are suffering an array of technical problems but should be up and running by early next week, Hueston said.

Each tower is 262 feet high, with three 125-foot blades on top.

At its operational peak, the turbines are expected to generate 150 megawatts -- enough to power 42,000 homes a year -- for Empire District Electric Co. of Joplin.
This is very exciting. While not all the local landowners are thrilled by the sight of the turbines, I think they'll find that there's something inspiring about the stately motion of the blades and the knowledge that they are contributing to an energy independent future for the nation. Kansas can generate all the electricity it needs from wind, and I think that should be the state's goal for the next 10 years, and then aim to export as much as it uses in the following decade. Factor in intraparty squabbling followed by interparty squabbling, and those goals will probably double their time frame.

Yes, I know, wind can only account for roughly 30% of the total energy mix in the grid, but we can aim for 100% generation, sell the surplus for credits toward what we get from non-renewable sources.