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More meetings slated for wind project  

Credit:  By Nancy McGill | Wahoo Newspaper | March 11, 2015 | www.wahoo-ashland-waverly.com ~~

LOMA – A wind turbine farm by NextEra Energy Resources is proposed for Butler and Saunders counties, with two-thirds in Butler and the remaining one-third in Saunders. The planning is in the early stages, and on March 18, the Florida-based company will meet with individual landowners at the Klein Center in Brainard from 5 to 8 p.m. The meeting is by invitation only and is not open to the public.

NextEra Development Manager Lisa Sullivan said the meeting is the first step in building a long-term relationship with the community.

According to Butler County Supervisor Greg Janak, landowners in the area have called their own meeting for March 26 at East Butler High School. That meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

“The landowner is the one who has the final say,” he said.

Janak said Sullivan will bring engineers with her to the LOMA – A wind turbine farm by NextEra Energy Resources is proposed for Butler and Saunders counties, with two-thirds in Butler and the remaining one-third in Saunders. The planning is in the early stages, and on March 18, the Florida-based company will meet with individual landowners at the Klein Center in Brainard from 5 to 8 p.m. The meeting is by invitation only and is not open to the public.

The project calls for 33,000 total acres with approximately 110 wind turbines, each with a road leading up to it.

“If we build a project, it will be in 2017,” she said. The wind farm is expected to serve 40,000 homes for 20 years with an automatic 20-year renewal.

“The actual amount of land that is needed is small. Not all the land is suitable for turbines,” Sullivan said.

Janak said the Butler County supervisors began discussing wind turbines in January because he had dealt with BlueStem Energy, which wanted two wind turbines close to a housing development in David City. Those turbines were found to be too close to the development.

Janak wasn’t approached by NextEra, but his constituents were and he contacted Sullivan, who gave a presentation to the supervisors March 2.

Sullivan isn’t supplying a map of the specific location just yet, citing competition from other renewable energy companies.

Janak said the approximate northern edge of the proposed wind farm is south of Bruno. He is one of the landowners who will be contacted. His property lies in Saunders and Butler counties, he said.

Janak said NextEra told him it has 20 landowners signed up for leases. The invitation-only meeting, which also includes landowners from Saunders County, is a gathering to solicit contracts, he believes.

He wants landowners and especially his constituents to keep a close eye on the progression of the project.

“I have some questions about the contract. They don’t tell you where they’re going to put that generator until the environmental studies. I want people to be aware of that,” he said.

Janak is also concerned about Butler County’s roads.

“There will need to be some modifications of roads like widening them. We have to make sure the bridges and culverts meet the standards for heavy construction equipment,” he said.

Sullivan said the project would produce economic benefits for the county, such as tax revenues and funding for schools, emergency services and hospitals.

In addition, there will be a trickle-down effect from the 150 to 175 people needed for construction who would purchase local goods and services while they are on the job for six to nine months.

After construction, NextEra is planning on five full time employees to maintain the wind farm.

“These are well-paying jobs with good benefits,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan did not give a formal presentation to the Saunders County Supervisors, but she briefly met with Saunders County Planning and Zoning Commission on March 2. Saunders County Zoning Administrator George Borreson said NextEra is currently scoping out the area to determine if it is feasible.

Saunders County’s zoning regulations were changed in 2004 to provide for wind farms.

18 meeting. He believes they will answer questions about setbacks, even though Butler County does not have zoning regulations. It is one of 11 counties in Nebraska that does not have zoning in place.

The project calls for 33,000 total acres with approximately 110 wind turbines, each with a road leading up to it.

“If we build a project, it will be in 2017,” she said. The wind farm is expected to serve 40,000 homes for 20 years with an automatic 20-year renewal.

“The actual amount of land that is needed is small. Not all the land is suitable for turbines,” Sullivan said.

Janak said the Butler County supervisors began discussing wind turbines in January because he had dealt with BlueStem Energy, which wanted two wind turbines close to a housing development in David City. Those turbines were found to be too close to the development.

Janak wasn’t approached by NextEra, but his constituents were and he contacted Sullivan, who gave a presentation to the supervisors March 2.

Sullivan isn’t supplying a map of the specific location just yet, citing competition from other renewable energy companies.

Janak said the approximate northern edge of the proposed wind farm is south of Bruno. He is one of the landowners who will be contacted. His property lies in Saunders and Butler counties, he said.

Janak said NextEra told him it has 20 landowners signed up for leases. The invitation-only meeting, which also includes landowners from Saunders County, is a gathering to solicit contracts, he believes.

He wants landowners and especially his constituents to keep a close eye on the progression of the project.

“I have some questions about the contract. They don’t tell you where they’re going to put that generator until the environmental studies. I want people to be aware of that,” he said.

Janak is also concerned about Butler County’s roads.

“There will need to be some modifications of roads like widening them. We have to make sure the bridges and culverts meet the standards for heavy construction equipment,” he said.

Sullivan said the project would produce economic benefits for the county, such as tax revenues and funding for schools, emergency services and hospitals.

In addition, there will be a trickle-down effect from the 150 to 175 people needed for construction who would purchase local goods and services while they are on the job for six to nine months.

After construction, NextEra is planning on five full time employees to maintain the wind farm.

“These are well-paying jobs with good benefits,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan did not give a formal presentation to the Saunders County Supervisors, but she briefly met with Saunders County Planning and Zoning Commission on March 2. Saunders County Zoning Administrator George Borreson said NextEra is currently scoping out the area to determine if it is feasible.

Saunders County’s zoning regulations were changed in 2004 to provide for wind farms.

Source:  By Nancy McGill | Wahoo Newspaper | March 11, 2015 | www.wahoo-ashland-waverly.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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