- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Planning Commission okays hog producer’s wind generation project

The Gage County Planning Commission has unanimously recommended approval of a special use permit for a single-tower, wind generation project that will power a major hog operation in western Gage County.

The commission recommended approval of a permit sought by Jim Ensz and Dick Goertzen….co-owners of the Ensz Feedlot.

Jim Ensz told the commission at a public hearing Thursday that the project will save energy at the operation and be beneficial under Nebraska’s net metering law…..where excess generation is credited back to the owner, at the retail level.

Ensz says the hog confinement operation began 14 years ago with a tunnel ventilation design, rather than natural ventilation. Despite being able to control temperature better, he said the cost was 20 times higher than a natural ventilation design.

Ensz said the idea for a wind generating tower arose from a meeting at the World Pork Expo with an Albert Lea, Minnesota Company, called ES Windpower. Company representative Kerry Kisslinger says the company would install a 100 foot single turbine tower.

Such systems are permitted in agriculture zones and the project appears to meet all county setback requirements from roads and other structures. Because of its limited height, the wind tower would not have to be lighted. It has a 42-foot diameter rotor.

Jesse Bolli of the Homestead National Monument of America testified before the commission in a neutral capacity, to express the National Park Service attraction’s concern about structures that may affect the view from the monument’s Heritage Center, which was positioned so that the prairie would appear as homesteaders saw it.

The tower would be about 4.7 miles from the Heritage Center. Kisslinger says it would not be easily spotted at that distance.

ES Windpower just completed a tower near Lamar, Colorado……has two others near Colby, Kansas and two more near Denison, Iowa.

The planning commission’s recommendation of permit approval now goes to the Gage County Board for a public hearing and a final decision.