BEATRICE – Even though it won’t have any decision-making authority over it, the Beatrice City Council and Mayor heard about a wind farm proposal Monday night that could have a significant financial impact for the Beatrice area.
An attorney representing NextEra Energy Resources, told city officials the company is considering a 50-turbine wind farm in northern Gage County on land mostly owned by one entity and leased for farming.
David Levy, of Omaha said at this point, no formal permit application for the project has been filed with the Gage County Planning Commission. The development would cover roughly a five-by-seven-mile area, made up of about 35 sections of property from south of Nebraska Highway 41, to near Pickrell.
NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of Florida Power and Light, is looking at a 124-megawatt wind farm that could power about 40,000 homes, producing an estimated $850,000 to $900,000 in property tax revenue annually, mostly in the Beatrice School District.
Levy says most of the job production would be during the construction period….200 oto 300 jobs….about six to eight full-time jobs during full operation.
The proposal has drawn opposition from rural acreage owners in northern Gage County, who want the county to increase the setback distance between wind towers and private property, from three-eighths-of-a-mile, to one mile…and adjust turbine noise limits.
“These projects can be controversial, they’re different. Gage County has, other than Lancaster County, the most restrictive, or protective, regulations than any other county in the state” (for wind farms)
A second wind farm is being built in western Saline County, by another company.
Levy said if built, the new wind farm in Gage County would represent a $225 million investment…..and would be NextEra’s second wind farm in the area. The company operates the Steele Flats Wind farm in southern Jefferson and Gage Counties. If given approval, Levy estimates it could start construction a year from now and would take about a year to build.
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