NEOSHO COUNTY, Kan. – Liberty Utilities’ ‘Neosho Ridge’ Wind Farm in Neosho County, Kansas, is no longer working. One county commissioner says he wants to know why.
Despite all the wind we’ve had recently, the turbines in Neosho County, haven’t been turning. District One Commissioner Paul Westhoff says it’s been more than two weeks since they were last operating. “What I was told is that their main transformer blew up, shorted out, whatever, and then their backup one did, and that’s why they’re down, so now they’re waiting on another transformer.”
Westhoff says he has concerns about those who signed contracts to allow the turbines to be built on their property. “If they’re not spinning, the leasors are not getting paid, because they get paid so much per megawatt I believe, and if they’re not spinning, and my concern Chris is, is the county going to get their million dollars in May?”
Westhoff voted no on allowing the wind farm to be built in Neosho County. He cited safety concerns with the turbines and concerns that residents had. Westhoff says now, with this transformer failure, it’s brought those concerns up once again. “Absolutely, I mean, you look up there at Allen County, they’ve had a lot of problems up there.”
We did reach out to Liberty Utilities, who told us they’re currently investigating the cause of the transformer failure and that there’s a possibility the transformers may need to be sent back to the factory for assessment and repair.
As for how long they’ll be down, liberty says that depends on what caused the failure in the first place.
Liberty added that despite the wind farm being down, it won’t have an impact on customers because liberty is part of the Southwest Power Pool, so they can pull in extra power as needed.
Another concern Westhoff noted was the fact that while the turbines are out, the F.A.A. lights on their tops, are also out. Liberty tells us they have notified the F.A.A. and that a notice is on file with the F.A.A. to alert aircraft that the lights aren’t working in that area.
Liberty officials tell us they are asking residents to treat the wind turbines as if they are still active and to stay at least 100 meters away from them for safety.
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