Wind energy plant may locate in Allen County



November 19, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Power production with wind-powered generators may find its way to Allen County one day soon.
County Counselor Alan Weber told Allen County commissioners Tuesday EDP Renewables, Houston, would test wind currents to determine if it was feasible to build a wind farm in these parts. The area first being considered is north of U.S. 54 and west of U.S. 59, a broad area north of LaHarpe.
As many as 100 of the turbines might be built. Typical wind-powered turbines sit atop 210-foot towers and are activated by fan blades 115 feet long, which would make ground-to-top clearance well over 300 feet.
EDP is completing arrangements to build a wind farm in Coffey County, with start of construction expected soon, Weber said.
A state mandate for renewable energy production of 20 percent of consumption will take effect in 2020, which has encouraged companies such as EDP to look more favorable on all of Kansas. Tax exemption is a federal fact of life for wind farms, but many companies make payments in lieu of taxes and also arrange to help with road repairs that evolve from construction and maintenance of the tower-borne generators, Weber said.

IN OTHER NEWS, commissioners:
— Accepted a bid of $27,500 from Clyde Toland for the old Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health building, 221 S. Jefferson Ave. The building had been appraised at $49,000. A second bid was $1,000. Toland said he planned to make the building a commercial rental.
— Were told by Bill King, director of Public Works, a fuel truck was purchased at auction for $13,000 for the airport. Also, King proposed to erect a radio repeater to bolster communications with his crews. Cost would be $3,000 to $4,000; a decision will come after King provides more information.
— Approved purchase of a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe for use by Sheriff Bryan Murphy. Cost is expected to be about $31,500. Murphy’s current vehicle will be offered for sale.
— Signed off on a $95,000 payment to the Murray Company, which constructed Allen County Regional Hospital. Weber said $55,000 would be retained until masonry work and other final punch-list items were completed.
— Took no action on a request from department heads to give 2 percent cost of living raises and use an additional 3 percent of their budgets for discretionary raises. Weber said the county’s annual payroll is $3.3 million, meaning 5 percent overall increases would amount to $165,000.
— Gave Allen County Animal Rescue Facility permission to put up a sign on the courthouse lawn to draw attention to efforts to raise $45,000. Ginny Hawk, ACARF representative, said the group hoped to reach its goal before the end of January.
— Agreed to close courthouse offices from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on Dec. 16 to accommodate a holiday appreciation luncheon for employees.

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