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Ford County is center of wind energy production

Dodge City and Ford County, Kan., lead the way in wind farm development. Already home to a 67-turbine, 110-megawatt wind farm near Spearville in eastern Ford County, development of new farms and transmission lines are underway.

From a recent story in the Dodge City Daily Globe:

The Ford County Commission … approved a conditional use permit and development plan for Western Trail Wind Project I, following a recommendation by the Ford County Zoning Board. The company has already acquired the land for the wind farm, which will be located south of Bucklin and move west toward Kingsdown as it expands.

Horizon Wind Energy project manager Mark Lawlor said his company was grateful for the county’s support.

“Ford County has been tremendously supportive of this project, as well as the landowners,” he said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “And that’s really one of the strengths of this project and wind development in the area, is community support and understanding of the economic development that it brings.”

Commission Chairman Kim Goodnight said the project, like the Spearville wind farm before it, was good economic news for the county.

“There was no opposition at all on the wind farm when the zoning board took up the issue,” he said. “Something that there’s no negativity associated with it — that’s the good news.”

The Houston-based company is planning a wind farm capable of generating up to 400 megawatts of electricity, but has not yet determined how many turbines it will need, Lawlor said. The cost of the project is unclear, and a timeline for construction has not been set — although Lawlor said the company would like to be ready to build as early as this year.