BLADEN – Increased ground clutter for a nearby Doppler radar satellite, decreased property values and noise pollution are among concerns for Webster County residents regarding a proposed 66-turbine wind farm near here.
Several dozen local landowners shared those concerns and peppered representatives of NextEra Energy Resources with questions about the project during an informational open house Thursday night at the Webster County Fairgrounds in Bladen.
Brad Toepfer, who lives in the far southwest area where the turbines are planned to go, purchased his home in early August.
“There was grumblings that a wind farm might be coming in, but no one seemed to know anything,” he said.
It wasn’t too long afterward that he learned it could be a very real possibility.
Among his concerns is that nearby wind turbines would negatively affect his property value. A handful of proposed turbines would be near his home, some as close as 2,400 feet.
In addition to his concerns with falling property valuations, Toepfer wants to make sure Webster County isn’t deceived by the project.
“The last thing I want to see is our county lose money on this deal,” he said. “I just want to make sure everyone is well informed and the county is looking at all the different facets.”
As many as 66 1.7-megawatt General Electric turbines are planned to comprise a wind farm called Cottonwood I – straddling Nebraska Highway 4, stretching from Nebraska Highway 78 about 10 miles to the west. Combined, the site would be capable of producing 113.7 megawatts – enough electricity for about 28,000 homes.
NextEra spokeswoman Josie Bird said, as the meeting wound down, that the company’s representatives in attendance received positive comments as well as the concerns.
“I think what we’ve seen tonight has been interesting for us,” she said. “It’s been nice to be able to listen to other people’s concerns. Our job is not just to provide information, it’s also to come back and take that information back with us, so we have an understanding of what some of the folks are saying.
“I think emotions sometimes ran high, but I think the fact that we continue to discuss these options and continue to discuss these issues is important not just for the people who are here tonight but for our company.”