Shawnee County officials review wind & solar farm survey

County planners are mulling over community input surrounding potential wind and solar projects in Shawnee County.
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 10:27 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - County planners are mulling over community input surrounding potential wind and solar projects in Shawnee County.

Officials at the Shawnee County Planning Department say wind and solar survey is one of the first steps to understanding how to move forward on potential regulations regarding wind and solar farms in Shawnee County.

A little over 50% of 894 responders to Shawnee County’s wind and solar survey answered they felt renewable energies are important.

“I think that we see a lot of people that are in support of green energy and wind farms and solar farms and I think that if we could support that in Shawnee County that would be a good,” says Joni Thadani, Director, at the Shawnee County Planning Department.

Strong feelings for and against solar farms in Shawnee County were fairly equal with 34 and 36% respectively wind farms, though, saw more resistance with 45% strongly opposed to the idea.

“I was kinda surprised that it really was 50/50 on the solar farm we really didn’t see that play throughout the survey results I think that that’s probably true nationwide. I think that wind farms are a little more you can see them from a lot further, there is a lot more controversy over them and I think that came out in our results that people are a lot more in favor of solar farms than wind farms,” says Thadani.

Joni says the survey is designed to gauge whether wind and solar farms are right for the county in the future.

“So we’re going to continue our research we’ll have a meeting in December and we will present some additional information. we want to look at all aspects of what it means to move forward with wind or solar in Shawnee County. I anticipate that we will present information to the planning commissioners first and then the planning commissioners can elect to have some town hall meetings or go ahead and move forward with some regulations and have public hearings and then once the planning commission has made some decisions then it gets referred over to the board of county commissioners for final determination.” says Thadani.

Thadani says they don’t have any wind and solar applications that are pending at this time. There are already two smaller scale solar farms that were built last spring.

To see the survey results click here.