Library from Nebraska
Difference of opinion and varied interpretation of county regulations consumed the discussion following the report from Hankard Environmental on the Prairie Breeze wind farm noise study, on Tuesday, July 12.
The supervisors imposed several conditions on the project, such as increased setback distances and completion of a noise analysis within 24 months after the structures are erected.
The commission held a public hearing on the project Tuesday but decided to delay a vote on a conditional use permit until it could be determined whether the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, which operates the nearby Cowboy Trail, should have been informed of the meeting.
NELIGH — North Dakota to Texas is what Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen calls the wind energy “sweet spot.”
“Your (Antelope County) zoning regulations, regulating wind energy systems, were clearly drafted by developers,” said Hunzeker. “They do not, in my opinion, adequately represent non-participating property owners. In my opinion, this application should be placed on hold and should be sent back to the planning commission, pending a review of your ordinance for the purpose of protecting the health, safety and welfare of non-participating property owners.”
“People don't want to live next to that. They want the green energy but they don't want to live next to it,” she said. Daugherty said she doesn’t oppose wind power generally, but there are just too many people in her area for a wind farm. Standing on her front porch affords a view of agricultural fields for miles. “And [the view] was what attracted me to this spot,” Daugherty said. “You saw my living room there, I've got windows that look to the west. My vision wasn't looking at wind turbines.”
The bill (LB824) exempts private wind energy developers from having to apply with the Nebraska Power Review Board, which regulates the state's publicly owned utility industry.
A requirement that wind developers reach a power purchase agreement with out-of-state buyers represents one of the biggest hurdles to more rapid development in the state, said Sen. Ken Haar of Malcolm, who introduced the key language in the bill last year. The bill would strike that requirement along with other more minor regulations.
State Sen. Ken Schilz suggested during legislative floor debate last week that building more wind turbines on the rural landscape could help lighten the property tax load in Nebraska. As it turns out, what’s good for tax relief also could be good for the Ogallala senator.
Board member John Hill reiterated safety concerns previously expressed during numerous public hearings ...“As far as the study on the sound and the effects on humans, I guess at this point I’d rather be on the conservative side with the lower dBA. At some point in time you might look back and say well this doesn’t have to be this restrictive, but it will evolve. I think over time you will see some effects there.”
“When it’s all said and done and the suits are all gone and the pockets will be lined, where does that leave us?” asked JoJen Allder of rural Cortland. “We’ll be surrounded by these noisy, ugly turbines with lower property rights and health issues. I want to be able to live and retire in my home, work in the garden, fish in the pond and gaze at the stars.”
Legislation attempting to remove restrictions placed on the development of wind energy in Nebraska appears to be stalled in committee, although an effort is underway to circumvent the usual path and advance the bill to a floor debate.
Why are they so determined to force industrial wind turbines into every Nebraska county with no regard for the property rights of those who do not wish to live beneath them?
A coalition of business, labor and civic leaders called on Lancaster County leaders to approve policies that will allow wind energy development. The group has begun collecting signatures for a petition that expresses support for “balanced policies that allow wind development" in Lancaster County.
Some area residents used the informational meeting to express their displeasure with the first phase of the wind farm project. “If this project is so wonderful, why was it done under the table?” asked Charles Moser.
Area residents concerned recently-recommended wind energy regulations aren’t restrictive enough spoke at the Gage County Board of Supervisor’s meeting Wednesday. Five people spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting, all in favor of more restrictive regulations.
The Gage County Planning Commission has forwarded revised regulations governing wind farms, to the county’s board of supervisors. Following a public hearing last night, the commission agreed to establish a sound limit on wind turbine noise affecting non-participating landowners in a project, at 47 decibels, with leeway for ambient sound.
The wind of public opinion may have shifted toward the end of another long public hearing Tuesday to consider a proposed wind farm near here. The hearing Tuesday afternoon included countless points made by supporters and opponents of the Upstream Wind Energy project on top of those already made Jan. 19 when the public hearing began before the Antelope County Planning Commission.
A negotiated proposal to spur private development of wind energy in Nebraska was presented to the Legislature's Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday with the Nebraska Public Power District on board.
The bill would eliminate a requirement that the developer have a purchasing power agreement in place before a project could be approved by the Nebraska Power Review Board. ...opponents say a faster approval process could create an influx of power that would oversaturate the grid, cause massive congestion and increase prices for rate-payers.