Wind and Prairie Task Force Charge
The Final Report of the Wind and Prairie Task Force was delivered to Governor Sebelius on June 7, 2004.
Click here to download the report.
The State Energy Resources Coordination Council is the energy-planning and policy arm of state government. SERCC’s Kansas Energy Plan 2003 identified wind power as having potential to be a significant energy source in Kansas.
Parts of the Flint Hills have high potential for wind energy. The presence of electric transmission lines crossing the Flint Hills between the state’s two largest population centers also makes the region suitable for the siting of wind turbines to produce electricity.
Commercial wind-energy development is relatively new in Kansas, and landowners and local governments are still learning about the issues and concerns involved in siting increasingly larger turbines.
Concerns have been raised that wind-energy development may further fragment remaining untilled Tallgrass Prairie, impact wildlife, and create visual and auditory nuisances to neighbors. Each county in the Flint Hills region is following a steep learning curve to understand and resolve a complex set of questions and issues.
It is appropriate to step back from the contentious debates of specific proposals to consider broad principles and guidelines, to develop expertise, and to provide planning tools for all parties so as to better make informed decisions.
Charge to the Task Force
The SERCC Wind and Prairie Task Force is established to carry out the Governor’s goal of assisting local communities in their decision-making processes relating to siting of wind-energy projects in the Flint Hills region and helping resolve potential conflicts between economic development and preservation of the Tallgrass Prairie.
The Task Force is charged to:
The WPTF should consider this document to be a starting point. The task force is encouraged to use its expertise to make sure the proper questions are being asked and to pursue the issues in whatever direction they need to go.
The WPTF is to accept public and expert comments in such a way as to minimize confrontation and polarization. The goal is to demonstrate procedures that can serve as models to most effectively hear different views, share information, and build consensus or at least understanding for decision-making.
In order to carry out the charge, the task force will need to answer the following questions that are specific to the Flint Hills/ Tallgrass Prairie:
The Governor directed that the WPTF complete its study and report its recommendations to her by May 31, 2004. The WPTF will set its own schedule as necessary to meet its charge. Progress reports will be made at each regularly scheduled meeting of SERCC and as otherwise necessary.
WPTF is tasked with developing and evaluating policy recommendations that are based on technical, economic, and social considerations. The WPTF may establish subcommittees and draw on outside expertise as necessary to achieve its goals.
The Wind and Prairie Task Force is established as an arm of the State Energy Resources Coordination Council, as authorized by Executive Order 2002-4, and operates under rules and guidelines applicable to official bodies of the State of Kansas.