Articles from Nebraska
For more than 50 years, Carolyn Semin has treasured the black nighttime skies in the Nebraska Sandhills dotted with twinkling stars. "People come from all over the world to look at it, especially at Merritt Reservoir for the annual Star Party," she says.
The regulations that were approved establish a set of rules more stringent than state regulations. At earlier county board meetings, it was disclosed that some landowners in the county had been approached by two wind energy companies seeking easements.
"We live one mile and one-third from the closest wind turbine, and I'm sensitive to low-frequency sounds, so we purchased a decibel meter. Many nights we have a southeast wind, which is the prevailing wind, it sounds like a jet plane revving but the plane never, of course, takes off," Vickie paused, getting emotional and teary, "So, we pay to stay at a hotel in town."
The writer, who lives in Cloverdale, California, is a native of Mullen, Nebraska. He is a longtime energy auditor who is now retired.
On Wednesday, the Cherry County Board of Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to reject recommendations by the county's planning and zoning board in regards to wind energy.
State Sen. Tom Brewer, a Republican who represents the scenic Sand Hills region in northwestern Nebraska, said he’s willing to reintroduce a bill from last year that would have imposed a two-year moratorium on wind development in the region.
Supporters of a proposal that wind energy developers warn would severely restrict economic development in rural Nebraska said they’re not being heard by their local elected officials. So they pleaded their case to state lawmakers.
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?