On November 27, 2019, the developer for the 59 turbine renewable energy Prairie Queen Wind project, EDP Renewables, was served with a mechanic's lien by an Allen county business that wasn't paid nearly $1.8 million it was owed for materials, equipment, and labor it provided for the project. Because of the terms of the lease agreements, participating landowners are now unable to sell any of their property affected by those lease agreements, until the $1,788,763.16 lien is satisfied.
(Photo: Dave Oas - A high-voltage transmission line in Allen County)
On Friday, March 13, 2020, Bourbon County Commissioners held a public meeting, after delaying it twice, to announce their decision about signing renewable energy contracts with Apex. They voted 3-0 to allow the Jayhawk Wind industrial wind project to advance. The concerned citizens group of Bourbon county is now being advised by a national law firm with offices in Olathe, on how to proceed against this newest challenge.
(Photo: Dave Oas - A wind-measuring tower in Bourbon County)
The makeup of the Labette County Commission abruptly changed when one commissioner had to prematurely vacate his seat. His position was filled by an unopposed candidate who doesn't embrace the idea of extending the current moratorium which expires Nov. 13, 2020. The Citizen Advisory Committee, that was formed as part of the moratorium, hasn't been allowed to meet since March of 2020. Currently, only one the three sitting commissioners openly supports extending the moratorium.
(Photo: Tammie Carlson-Oas - A summer sunset in Labette County)
Although McPherson County had a moratorium on industrial wind projects, in 2016, renewable energy wind companies began quietly signing leases with landowners. One of those landowners was a County Commissioner who – after signing – voted to lift the moratorium. In response, county residents formed a large opposition group. In the fall of 2018, commissioners were advised that wind turbines could potentially interfere with a new enhanced 911 system that was then in the planning stages. A temporary moratorium was issued until completion of the 911 system, sometime in late 2020 .
(Photo: Glenda Taylor - After a spring storm in McPherson County)
County residents affected by Neosho Ridge Wind, dropped their suit filed against Apex Clean Energy in July of 2019 due to the additional costs as a result of Apex successfully moving to have the suit filed in Federal court, rather than the local county court. As of November 2020, the 139 turbine Neosho Ridge Wind development is nearly complete and partially operationa..
(Photo: Dave Oas - Site hole in Neosho county, from 350 feet up)
In February 2019, NextEra Energy was denied a Conditional Use Permit for the 88 turbine, Pretty Prairie Wind project. Landowners successfully filed Protest Petitions requiring a unanimous vote by the County Commission. The Commission voted 2-1 to approve the CUP but, since the vote wasn’t unanimous, the motion failed. In July 2019, NextEra filed suit against Reno County contending the petition signatures weren’t notarized and the decision was “unreasonable denial”. The District Court judge ordered all related documents be submitted to him before hearing the case, which is still pending.
(Stock photo by MMAINCO)