Library from Nebraska
Vavra said that landowners should be prepared for disagreements among themselves and in fact, they should invite critics of proposed projects “to make you stay honest.” He highlighted the tactics of some developers, who engage in “cherry picking” to sign up a few landowners in the effort to block competitors.
NEXTera Energy Resources’ director of development, Lisa Sullivan, took the board through a whirlwind presentation of the Jubilee Project, a proposed wind turbine farm that would occupy a 33,000 acre area, potentially stretching from the Bruno and Brainard areas east into Saunders County. About two-thirds of the area is in Butler County.
Planning and Zoning officials from Gage and Lancaster counties will be working together as they reexamine each county’s regulations for wind farms.
A proposed wind farm that would cover a portion of northern Gage County prompted the County Board of Supervisors to review setback requirements during Wednesday’s meeting. Volkswind USA announced plans in September for a wind farm that would be primarily in Lancaster County, though it would also occupy around 4,000 acres in Gage County.
Ciardi said the weather service has similar agreements with two wind farms in Kansas and one in New York, but none of those wind farms have raised as much concern as the one proposed for Nebraska. For the most part, wind farms are a nuisance to forecasters, but Cottonwood would be the first time in Tornado Alley that a wind farm would be built so close to a radar station, Ciardi said.
Jeffrey Wagner, president of Volkswind USA, said his company pulled the application at the request of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Planning Department. "They thought it would be better to have some more public engagement," Wagner said.
Nearly 100 people, mostly residents of the Cortland, Hallam and Martell areas, packed a wind forum Tuesday night that could have been called Wind Energy 101. ...The audience also heard from Edward Walsh, an auditory neurobiologist from the Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha. “As a biologist, there is a biological basis for concern. In the case of wind turbines, it’s what you can’t hear that’s significant,” Walsh said, adding that most of the sounds produced by spinning wind turbines are in the low-frequency range.
State senators announced Friday that they will introduce five bills intended to advance Nebraska's renewable energy industry, increase economic development and provide property tax benefits.
Kathryn D. Sullivan Ph.D., Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, sent this response to Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer after Senator Fischer contacted NOAA with concerns pertaining to NextEra's proposed Cottonwood wind energy facility which would site dozens of wind turbines within 2-7 miles of the NEXRAD weather radar in Blue Hill, Nebraska. Senator Fischer's constituents contacted her out of concern for their safety if the weather radar was impaired by the turbines. The letter sent by Dr. Sullivan is provided below and can be accessed by clicking the link on this page. Senator Fischer's letter is also available from this page.
The fate of a key application concerning proposed development of the Cottonwood wind farm in rural Webster County likely will be decided over the next month or so, a county official said Tuesday.
A new wind power analysis has found it would cost Nebraska utilities as much as $4 billion to upgrade the state’s electricity transmission system to support the export of wind-generated power to other states.
NextEra's Cottonwood wind project (113.6 MW) proposes to site all of its 52 turbines within 2 to 7 miles of the Blue Hill, Nebraska NEXRAD radar. This will be the closest of any operating turbines in the U.S. to weather stations in Tornado Alley. The National Weather Service meteorologist-in-charge at the Grand Island/Hastings Weather Forecast Office in Hastings, NE, agreed to sign this letter of intent addressing the times when operational curtailment of the turbines would be required in order to evaluate a storm within the range of the radar. The agreement is in effect for five years from the date it was signed (November 24, 2014). The agreement is entirely voluntary and non-binding on any party. It can be terminated at any time upon notice of just one party. The introduction of the agreement is provided below. The full agreement can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
A proposed wind turbine project is causing controversy in Webster County. The project is aimed to begin in the next several months. Thursday night was an open house with project officials from NextEra Energy Resources to try to inform and alleviate some concerns.
“Looks like there's going to be about 12-14 turbines within a mile of our home and so we're very concerned about the health and safety of our family living that close to that many turbines and the effects that the noise would have on our property.”
A commercial wind farm proposed for south-central Nebraska would interfere with a National Weather Service radar station more than any other in the nation. ...For the most part, wind farms are a nuisance to forecasters, but this would be the first time in Tornado Alley that a wind farm would be built this close to weather a radar station.
Loup officials hoped the wind energy could eventually bring customers a cheaper rate. But after Tuesday’s vote, unless Bluestem comes back with a lower price, what seemed like a promising idea could be gone with the wind.
Many states have legislative involvement, i.e., guidelines and regulations, regarding the construction of wind turbines. Questions do need to be asked. There should be just as much discussion on the realities of wind farms, including the "what ifs," as there is and has been of oil pipelines.
Warning people when dangerous weather strikes is vital to save lives. The National Weather Service responsible for sending out those messages says a proposed wind farm project could cause confusion when reading the weather radar. A wind farm affects a forecast by having radar beams hit the spinning blades, bounce back and make it look like it's raining all the time.
Cindy Chapman, a Hallam area resident and one of the organizers of Stop Hallam Wind, said she's glad to hear the applications have been placed on hold. "It just gives us a little more time to gather the information we need to present to both planning commissions on why these (turbines) are a danger to people's health," she said.
Hallam residents learned late last week that Volkswind USA put all seven special permit applications filed with the Lancaster County Planning Commission on hold. This action comes amid concerns and opposition from property owners who will be most impacted by the proposed wind turbine project.