Wind Energy Project
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A wind energy project for Fort Hays State University has been in the news for some time. What was once talk is now reality, as the project is actively progressing after a few setbacks. FHSU, in conjunction with Harvest the Wind Network, LLC, will utilize two wind turbine generators (WTGs) on property leased from a local landowner.
The turbines are provided by Vestas, the leader in producing wind turbines. They have over 47,000 units installed worldwide. Pending a contractual agreement, PNE Corporation of Longview, Wash., will cover installation of the turbines. The turbines will stand 400 feet tall and be visible from campus. They will be constructed on property located near the intersection of 210th Avenue and Golf Course Road in Hays.
FHSU has researched and taken steps to ensure the wind turbine generators will not negatively impact the environment or cause an inconvenience to people living near the turbines. Three different evaluations were conducted to measure the effect the two wind turbines might have on the surrounding areas. The first, measuring noise level, determined that "only at the WTG sites does it rise above the level of background noise." A second test measured a shadow flicker effect, and the third examined the aesthetic effects on surrounding landscape. The study determined "some part of the wind turbine will be visible in almost all parts of the area directly adjacent to the installation with a diminishing visual impact as distance increases."
According to documentation submitted to Ellis County, the turbines will provide energy directly to campus, and their combined energy output will cover roughly 97% of energy consumption on campus. This translates to an annual reduction of $600,000 to $1 million in energy costs for FHSU.
- On February 28, road construction began at the corner of Golf Course Road and 210th Avenue. Construction was slated to begin on February 19, but was delayed by a winter storm. This project was set to be completed March 8.
- Foundation construction for WTG1 wrapped up the week of February 25, and work on the foundation for WTG2 began promptly afterward. The access road to the project site was near completion, with a final grading set for March 5.
- An electrical engineer contacted PNE with wire specifications, and information from Vestas and Midwest Energy were necessary before transformers could be ordered.
- Both WTGs will be delivered in parts by June 4. One WTG requires eight trucks to transport its components.