Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Harvesting the Kansas Wind

I had to travel to Hays last week and on my way, I had a chance to see the new wind farm that is being constructed in southern Lincoln county. There has been some significant controversy surrounding the wind farm and how it will change the landscape in the Smoky Hills. I am very amazed at how tall these structures stand and how visible they are even 25 and 30 miles away.
It seems like a smart thing to do with the amount of wind that we see here in Kansas, but it definitely looks weird when you have 20 or 30 of them all grouped together in one spot. Some of the towers stand over 200 feet tall and weigh over 70 and 80 tons. There are other wind farms in Kansas, including one near Beaumont, Spearville, and Montezuma. They stand tall enough that we can actually see them on the Doppler radar from Dodge City and Wichita. We know it is the wind farm because the echoes that show up on the radar stay in the same place. You could mistake it for a thunderstorm if you didn't know what you were looking at.

It is interesting to think that we have gravitated from the old style of windmill used to pump a well, to the new kind of wind machine, one that generates electricity.


Anonymous said...

WOW...you must have read my mind! I was going to prompt you to start a related post. I was also traveling west on I-70 this past weekend. I passed the wind farm and was in awe of the massive structures. You came to mind because of our similar backgrounds...farm-kid turned scientist! :) Due to the surrounding controversy, I was wondering what your thoughts were on the issue. How do you feel about the destruction of one resourse (farm and pasture land) to conserve another?

Anonymous said...

CORRECTION...I didn't want you to think that I was a scientist that didn't know how to spell "resource." :)

Jon said...

I know some dont like them but I think these are beautiful in their own unique way! Its this or be more dependent on foreign oil!!

shelly said...

I agree Jon. We really need to decrease our need for foreign oil, and we need to be cautious about spewing more deadly gases into the atmosphere. These windfarms really are beautiful!

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