SYRACUSE – NextEra Energy Resources held a meeting with Lancaster and Otoe County residents Wednesday evening at the county fairgrounds in Syracuse to discuss the benefits of the Panama Wind Farm that would place approximately 38 wind turbines across Lancaster and Otoe counties.
NextEra, which is said to be the world’s largest producer of renewable energy, was met by hundreds of area residents wearing matching yellow shirts that read “say no to big wind” to express their disapproval with the project.
Lancaster County resident Erin Walvoord, who runs a Facebook page about the wind farm, expressed her displeasure with the project, saying it has too many negative impacts to the land and community.
Walvoord went on to say that she thinks some community members didn’t know about the wind farm until they heard of Wednesday’s presentation, and feels that NextEra hasn’t been as transparent as it should be about the project.
Walvoord: “This informational meeting [Wednesday] that’s being put on by the wind energy company is the first effort that [NextEra] has done to have any kind of public informational session.”
NextEra project developer Matthew Jones spoke to News Channel Nebraska earlier in the day Wednesday saying he was hopeful Wednesday’s presentation would provide further transparency and ease the minds of community members that oppose the wind farm.
Warren Fick who lives near Bennett, shared a similar sentiment saying he is against the wind farm because he fears his property value will decrease. Fick felt the meeting leaned heavily toward those that oppose the farm and wants to see wind farms move more west away from populated areas.
Fick: “I felt this was pretty one-sided as far as people that are against it. I know there are some landowners that signed leases to this and I understand that.”
Fick continued: “I’m not against wind energy. I think its got its place, but not in such a heavily populated area.
The Otoe County Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on May 19 to discuss the next steps.
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