Some residents raise questions on Reno County wind farm

Local

Residents of southeast Reno County will hold a “neighbor to neighbor” meeting Tuesday evening at St. Joseph-Ost parish hall to discuss the NextEra Pretty Prairie wind farm.

NextEra submitted the request for a conditional use permit last week, which the Reno County planning and zoning commission will review before submitting a recommendation to the county commission later this spring. The county commission must pass the proposal by a two-thirds vote.

“Along with the setbacks we feel are inadequate, we feel it puts a lot of non-participant homes at risk for property value loss, noise issues, shadow flicker, stuff like that,” resident Matt Amos said.

Setbacks refer to the distance between the turbine and non-participant homes. Shadow flicker refers to the flickering effect of turbines as they rotate in front of a lighted space, like a window.

Amos is a non-participating resident, but he worries about what a turbine would do to his property value.

“Everybody that is out here has worked hard to be here. We just want to do right by them, make sure everybody here is protected,” Amos said.

Bryan Garner, director of communications for NextEra, said two studies, one in 2009 and one in 2013, indicated no impact on property values. 

NextEra currently has six wind energy centers in Kansas with two in development. 

Garner said in a phone call on Monday that Reno County was a desired location for the wind farm due to several reasons, including high-quality wind and willing landowners.

However, Amos and other residents are trying to prepare a case to present to county leaders regarding some of their opposition.

“You know I’m not anti-wind, our group isn’t anti-wind, we want to make sure residents are protected and the county gets the most bang for their buck,” Amos said.

NextEra hopes to get the project approved and completed by the end of 2019, while there are federal subsidies available for renewable energy projects. Garner also said they want to complete the project while they have a customer for the energy available.

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