Sierra Club's Position on the New TradeWind Energy Wind Farm
TradeWind Energy, a wind power developer based in Lenexa, Kansas, has announced the go ahead of the first 100 MW stage of its long planned 250 MW wind farm along Interstate 70 in northern Ellsworth County and southern Lincoln county, Kansas. The project will be owned and financed by Enel S.p.A. of Italy, the third largest utility company in the world.
Sunflower Electric Coop has committed to take power from 50 MW of the project's capacity, and the Kansas City, Ks. Bureau of Public Utilities will take 25 MW. A third, as yet unnamed buyer, is expected to take the rest. Sunflower and BPU's commitment to wind power is very small compared to the coal plants they plan to build which are strongly opposed by the Sierra Club. Nonetheless we applaud their decision to try wind power and hope this will lay the groundwork for further, more significant moves into renewable energy in the future.
The Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club feels that the TradeWinds Energy site is acceptable for a wind farm. The site is already heavily altered by human activities, and presents a very high quality wind resource. Based on what we know now, any environmental impacts should be small in comparison to the benefits the wind farm will convey in limiting damage to wildlife in Kansas and elsewhere from global warming.