Kings Point Windfarm in northwestern Lawrence County nearing completion

Steve Chapman

Already completed, these wind turbines, part of the Kings Point Windfarm, wait to be activated. The windfarm is expected to come online this spring. Inset, A crew works to assemble a wind turbine in northwest Lawrence County along Highway 97. (Photos by Steve Chapman)

If you’ve been to the northwest corner of Lawrence County lately, you may have noticed some mammoth-sized tri-bladed wind turbines dotting the landscape. The turbines are part of the Kings Point Windfarm, a windfarm that spans Barton, Dade, Jasper and Lawrence counties. There are a total of 69 turbines in the windfarm, 20 of which are located in Lawrence County.
Kings Point Windfarm is one of three windfarms currently under construction by Liberty Utilities; the other two are the North Fork Ridge Windfarm in Barton County and the Neosho Ridge Windfarm in Neosho County, Kan. Combined, the three windfarms are expected to generate 600 megawatts of electricity per year and save $300 million over a 30-year period.
Each turbine in the Kings Point Windfarm stands 600- feet high and can generate between 2.0 and 2.2 megawatts of electricity per year. Jillian Curtis, project manager at Liberty Utilities, said the turbines at Kings Point are expected to collectively generate about 150 megawatts per year, enough to power an impressive amount of the houses in the county.
“Based on projections of wind speed and assuming the average household consumes 1,000 kWh per month,” she said, “Kings Point will be capable of powering more than 50,000 homes.”
Actual construction and installation of the turbines is being managed by Tenaska, an energy company based in Omaha, Neb. Each turbine takes about a year to build and install, and construction tends to be very complicated.
“There is a great deal that goes into turbine construction,” Curtis said. “Access roads and foundations must be built, and the underground collection system must be installed. A substation has to be constructed to gather the electricity generated. From this substation, a transmission line is built to connect the windfarm to the grid.”
 Another factor in the construction of the windfarm is acquiring the land that the turbines will stand on. Curtis declined to say how much Liberty pays property owners to lease the land where the turbines reside, citing confidentiality, but said those whom they lease land from experience a win-win scenario: They are being paid to allow the turbines on their land, but each turbine actually requires relatively little land, meaning landowners can continue to use most of their property as they wish.
“We work closely with our landowners to fairly compensate them for the access and lease of their property,” she said. “Each wind turbine only needs approximately two-thirds of an acre for siting and access roads, allowing landowners to continue to use most of their land for current purposes, such as farming or raising livestock, while receiving a steady source of income from the lease.”
There are no regulations in Missouri or local counties for where turbines are placed, but Curtis said developers usually regulate themselves to make sure the turbines create a minimal disruption in their location.
“Responsible wind developers typically recognize some voluntary siting restrictions to reduce the impact of wind projects, especially for the general public and non-participating landowners in the vicinity of the project,” she said. “Some factors that may affect turbine siting include proximity of homes and presence of wetlands or other critical wildlife habitat.”
Curtis said Kings Point is expected to come online this spring, and Liberty Utilities is excited about the prospect of creating a new source of clean electricity.
“We look forward to the completion of the Kings Point wind farm and are happy to have the opportunity to provide the public and our customers with clean, renewable energy,” she said.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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