Wind turbines are being built right next to oil rigs, bringing an additional rush of energy jobs and revenue to the small towns along the southern border of the state — as well as big paychecks to local landowners.
BP Wind Energy is currently building the biggest wind farm in the state, and it plans to begin production by the end of this year. The project has already brought 500 jobs to the three counties its wind turbines span: Harper, Barber and Kingman, according to BP.
These same counties are also filling up with hundreds of oil workers, as big fracking and exploration companies seek to tap the billions of barrels of oil that are estimated to be in the Mississippian limestone formation.
Not only have these two energy forces brought money to the region, but they’ve also created a housing shortage, a surge in traffic and have worn down local roads.
“[Wind and oil] have collided at the same time here in Harper County,” said Al Roder, administrator of Harper County, where the majority of the wind turbines are located. “As a result, all of the good and all of the challenges are getting multiplied.”