Beyond concern for historic sites, Harms cited new information about the number of whooping cranes – also an endangered species – which use the area. And he mentioned landowners’ concerns that the line could encourage building wind turbines in the Sandhills, which many residents say would scar the land and spoil the view. So far, wind energy projects generating more than 1,000 megawatts of electricity, and requiring hundreds of turbines, are on a list of potential tie-ins to the R-Project.
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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?"
"It's going through the Sandhills and crossing several rivers that have a tremendous amount of fish and wildlife resources," said Bob Harms, a Wildlife Service biologist based in Grand Island. "It's unfragmented grasslands. It's a huge resource for migratory birds and threatened and endangered species." Some of the highest populations of the endangered American burying beetle in the U.S. are found along the route as well, he said.
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.
Twice previously, the current chairman of the Nebraska Power Review Board recused himself from voting because of a potential conflict of interest: His employer was working for a utility seeking board approval of a project. But this month, Chairman Michael Siedschlag, a vice president with HDR Engineering, voted in favor of a controversial high-voltage transmission line proposed by the Nebraska Public Power District. The project was approved on a 3-2 vote.
Today's Nebraska Power Review Board hearing in Lincoln on a proposed Axtell-Kansas transmission line may signal tough sledding ahead for wind-power development in Nebraska and improvements to the grid. Opponents of the Nebraska Public Power District-proposed project don't want 125- to 150-foot-tall power poles cutting through their farmland and pastures.
On a 3-2 vote, the Nebraska Power Review Board late Friday approved construction of a controversial, high-voltage transmission line from Axtell, Neb., southward to the Kansas state line. Local residents had complained that the $83 million project would benefit Kansas mostly, and wasn't needed by the State of Nebraska.
In what might signal some tough sledding ahead for wind-power development in Nebraska, grievances will be presented Friday related to construction of a high-voltage power-transmission line planned in south-central Nebraska. Opponents to the project from Axtell, Neb., to the Kansas border don't want 125- to 150-foot-tall power poles cutting through their farmland, particularly since they believe that the main beneficiary of the $87 million project is a giant wind farm in Kansas.
Broken Bow and Custer County residents can learn about route options for a Nebraska Public Power District transmission line to link a current substation to a wind farm expected to go into operation in 2012.