Library from Nebraska
Supporters of wind energy in Northeast Nebraska might feel like they are going against the wind after action taken Monday in two counties.
A vast majority were against any wind development. “You're going to destroy our environment with tall, massive wind turbines so (people in Omaha) can feel comfortable,” Stanton resident Tony Wortman said. “Do they put wind turbines in Omaha? Do you put wind turbines in Stanton? No, but you'll go out in the country and you'll irritate a neighbor… so bad that they're talking about moving. ”
Sound levels and setbacks continued to be problematic for the Antelope County Board of Commissioners when adopting changes to and approving a resolution for zoning regulations at the commissioners board meeting Tuesday, Nov. 7.
PIERCE — Outside of a 15-minute presentation at the beginning of a public hearing on Thursday, Nov. 2, Pierce County Commissioners heard virtually no one from the public speak in support of allowing wind turbines in the county or the proposed amendments to Pierce County zoning regulations covering wind energy.
Sen. Tom Brewer plans to introduce a bill next legislative session to place a two-year moratorium to block wind development in the Sandhills. “There's a mad rush right now to build wind turbines in the Sandhills and common sense cannot put a corner-post line and not have put in a dead man to anchor it," Brewer said. "So why would you build a 5,60-foot tower in sand and not question the wisdom behind that?"
Approval or any other action on proposed wind-farm regulations in Pierce County could come as soon as two weeks. Then again, it could be later.
Hines and Harms both reiterated that Fish and Wildlife could only make recommendations to NPPD, but that ultimately it was NPPD that decided the route for the transmission line. “We suggested two alternate routes that would have minimal environmental impact,” Harms said. “NPPD came back and said those routes wouldn’t work because of the cost involved.”
Facebook’s sprawling Papillion data center project has breathed new life into a dormant wind development project in northeast Nebraska.
The Sandhills are one of the world’s largest contiguous grasslands and the largest stabilized sand dune region. They are 11-percent groundwater derived wetlands. They provide crucial habitat to migratory birds. The Sandhills remain pristine and unaltered. They are unique and truly Nebraska’s finest natural resource. Most residents of the Sandhills, as well as many throughout the state and from other states feel this very fragile, pristine ecoregion is entirely unsuitable for such an industrial project and that future wind energy development will exponentially compound the damage.
Legislative Bill 504 would put a temporary moratorium on wind energy development in the Nebraska Sand Hills. Members of the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee should bring it out of committee and issue a position statement opposing the NPPD R-Project.
As wind energy has grown in Nebraska, so has a fervent resistance from mostly rural landowners and lawmakers who view the turbines as noisy, heavily subsidized eyesores that lead to lower property values. ..."You're taking a pristine area, and you're going to shred it for the sole purposes of wind energy," said Brewer, who introduced a bill last year to impose a two-year moratorium on wind energy farms in the Sandhills
Many industries in the U.S. receive some kind of government subsidy, but the wind energy industry is 100 percent reliant on federal subsidy known as the production tax credit. Wind projects don’t farm the wind, they farm tax avoidance credits as confirmed by Warren Buffet who admitted, “That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” Under the current policy, the industry is forecasted to reap $24 billion in subsidies between 2016 and 2020 or electricity production subsidies — nearly double the subsidies planned for any other renewable option. None of these figures include the significant benefits granted the industry in the form of state production tax credits, lower local taxes, and ratepayer-funded transmission. Our country is over $20 trillion in debt. Why are we paying this kind of money for an intermittent source of electricity that only makes power about 30% of the time?
PIERCE — After making a number of changes to proposed wind turbine zoning regulations for Pierce County, the County Planning and Zoning Commission approved a motion recommending those regulations be approved by the Pierce County Board of Commissioners.
The construction of a larger 30 megawatt capacity wind project in the same general area northwest of Kimball where a decommissioned wind project has existed in the past will triple the amount of power generated.
In between a morning briefing marked by vehement anti-wind sentiment and an afternoon hearing for a study on public power ordered by the Nebraska Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee, opponents on the Capitol steps protested wind farms and a 225-mile electric transmission project planned to traverse the Sand Hills.
Committee member Bruce Bostelman of Brainard said he had personally fought the battle three years and had lived a lot their stories. "We need to be smart about it. If we're going to use renewables (energy), fine. Let's do them in the right place, at the right time, with input from the people who live there," he said.
Much of the discussion by commission members centered around set-backs, how far away wind towers would be set back from existing buildings and houses. There was also discussion about the costs of decommissioning the towers, how the costs to remove them would be covered and by whom, should the towers be abandoned 15-20 years in the future.
The collusion between wind energy and government disgusts me. If the Federal Production Tax Credit for wind energy didn’t exist, you would not see another industrial wind energy turbine built. As Warren Buffet said, “….on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That's the only reason to build them. They don't make sense without the tax credit."
Marvin said the new measurement for setback distances would be measured from the center of the base of the turbine instead of the center of the hub. The commission targeted change in the setback distance. Currently, turbines must be 2,000 feet from the residence of a non-participating landowner. The new regulations require a 2,700 ft. distance.
Monday’s nearly 3½ hour public hearing on zoning regulations nearly wrapped up without much comment on the wind turbines.