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Residents divided over wind turbine project in Webster County

WEBSTER COUNTY, Neb. – 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 Energey Resources to try to inform and alleviate some concerns.

Dozens of Webster County residents were in attendance Thursday trying to get information on the $150 million wind farm project

“It’s a proposed 50-66 turbines. There all wind generation turbines and they’re proposed for construction between 2015-2016. The project’s about 11,000 acres and we think that that can power roughly 25,000-30,000 homes,” said Project Manager Noah Hyte.

Everyone at the open house had an opinion on the project, but they weren’t all in agreement.

“I think this could benefit our county as far as financially, it might bring in a few jobs in the area and just the recognition, maybe something else can come along because of this project,” said Daren Neimeyer of Bladen.

However Blue Hill resident Brad Toepher said, “Some of the concerns, some of the obvious ones are, property values decreasing, with having these this close to some homes. The county, you know what kind of expenses are they going to incur? Then you have things like wind noise, ice throw.”

Whether the residents at the open house were in favor of these wind turbines or not, every person was able to leave the public meeting with a little more information on the project.

There maybe was some things that were alleviated. They kind of went into a little more studies about decibel levels, that kind of thing, but still some concerns that just have to get a little more information on,” said Toepher.

Niemeyer added, “For one thing it’s kind of changed to a different company from what it started out originally and just some of the benefits of having wind turbines and what they can do for a community and different things like that.”

More approval is needed before the project can start.

Hyte said, “The next few hurdles will be a few regulatory approvals, there will be a few hearings, public and then just County Commissioners, over the course of the next two months, as well as negotiations of road use agreements with the state and with the county. The last remaining hurdle will be a power purchase agreement and we’re hoping to execute one but the first quarter of 2015.”

If you would like more information on this project or wind turbines in general click the link to the NextEra Energy Resources website.