Wind company addresses area

Expedition Wind is excited to partner with landowners in Marion County as we proceed with the development and construction of a 72-turbine project.

This source of renewable energy not only benefits our environment, it benefits the landowners and surrounding area as well. We understand that change can be difficult to understand, embrace and accept.

We would like to reiterate some facts about our project in an effort to be transparent, and hopefully quell some fears that are circulating amongst county residents. First, some facts about the wind turbines themselves:

– We have requested to build one wind farm, currently with a total of 72 turbines. Not three wind farms, not hundreds of turbines. One wind farm. 72 turbines.

– The towers themselves are about 350 feet tall, with the blade reaching about 500 feet. These are nearly identical in size to the existing turbines of the Diamond Vista wind farm. We are not planning to build anything larger.

– Wind farms do not render existing crop and pasture land useless. Farmers and ranchers can and do, still, use the land for the same purpose they have for many years. This allows them to have two sources of income for using the same piece of land.

Next, some facts about the approval process:

– Residents do (and have) had a say in the matter. Marion County’s regulations are very similar to (and in some ways advanced) other counties in KS and around the country. The Planning & Zoning board and the County Commission are made up of Marion County residents, who are chosen and elected to act on behalf of the people they represent. The regulations allow for a process involving several instances where the public is welcome and encouraged to speak.

– Other wind farms could have gone through a process which allows for only one public hearing, and one County Commission meeting (which may or may not have allowed public comment) to get the same approvals we have received. However, our project has had more than 10 public hearings, and countless County Commission meetings over 10 years to allow for the public to debate our project, so one would be hard-pressed to find a project that had more input from the public than we have.

-While legal challenges are always a concern of developers, the legal system has continuously upheld the County’s process – and we are quite sure they will continue to do so.

Finally, some facts about who benefits, and how:

– Marion County residents receive their power from Westar Energy, which is now called Evergy, whose portfolio of generation includes wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas, and coal. The energy produced here will benefit many, both inside and outside county and state lines, much the same way that crops grown in Marion County go on to feed people all around the country and world.

– It is true that wind farms receive government subsidies, much like any other industry, including agriculture, and oil & gas.

– Landowners are compensated well for partnering with Expedition Wind for turbines, acreage and facilities — often enough to subsidize their farming operation.

– We currently have over 25 participation agreements with landowners who are either neighboring the project or have land within the project but have too few acres to sign a lease for wind turbines. Further, any neighboring landowners within a half-mile of any of the turbines can also be compensated for participating in the project. This agreement is still available now through construction and pays each participant $2,000 per year if they qualify.

– One of the most exciting benefits this project can bring is still under review by the county.

However, Expedition’s offer on this PILOT program is more lucrative than what the County signed with Diamond Vista, despite a continuing decline in energy prices (ie revenue for the project). In other words, we are paying the county more, while receiving less in revenues. We are doing this because it is the right thing to do and because it will substantially help the school district and ultimately, the future of Marion County.

The goal of Expedition Wind is to provide a renewable energy resource that will help sustain the environment and enhance the county and its residents. We are here as partners with landowners in Marion County to achieve this goal and we are happy to answer whatever questions you may have about the project.

We want to provide factual information and work together to achieve our vision. Our office on Main Street is manned and our staff is available to answer all of your questions. We have big, colorful maps there – so stop in and see us! We’ll look forward to hearing from you all.

Patrick Pelstring

Expedition Wind