Wind Power News: Nebraska
These news and opinion items are gathered by National Wind Watch to help keep readers informed about developments related to industrial wind energy. They are the products of the organizations or individuals noted and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of National Wind Watch.
The Scotts Bluff County Commissioners meeting on Oct. 16 yielded confusion amongst residents as well as the commissioners. Director of Building and Zoning Bill Mabin presented two items in the commissioners meeting. The first item was a zoning change for an agricultural area to become a rural residential area. The second item was a preliminary plat for the Alderson Subdivision. Afterward, Mabin brought forth information regarding the amendments to the Scotts Bluff County Comprehensive Zoning Plan to add an energy . . .
Our Nebraska Sandhills region offers one of the best expanses of native grass in the country and fosters cattle raising and ranching. Birdwatching and general ecotourism have begun to develop. We need to afford protection to the Sandhills by leaving the area in its natural state. In 2011, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback designated a Tall Grass Heartland area involving the Southern Flint Hills region in that state, stating that the area should be off limits for additional massive industrial wind . . .
Intense opposition remains among some landowners, including a coalition in the Sandhills that sees turbines as an intrusion on the rolling, grass-covered sand dunes. Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, whose district encompasses most of the Sandhills, said turbines could ruin their appearance, lower property values and harm regional tourism. "You're taking a pristine area, and you're going to shred it for the sole purposes of wind energy," said Brewer, who introduced a bill last year to impose a two-year moratorium on wind energy farms in the Sandhills. The bill remains stuck in committee, but Brewer said he'll push for it again in next year's session. Brewer pointed to the experience of former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, who told The Associated Press on Friday that the $5 billion wind incentive package he approved in 2002 hasn't delivered the jobs and tax revenue he had been promised.
Without the production tax credit, wind energy would not survive. Wind energy is not about harvesting wind, it’s about harvesting taxpayer dollars. Another issue is transmission lines. The Nebraska Public Power District’s R-Project is slated for the heart of the Sand Hills. These are among the largest contiguous grasslands in the world, home to threatened and endangered species. They are a vital part of the Central Flyway, providing crucial habitat to eagles, ducks, geese, swans, sandhill cranes and whooping cranes. . . .
There is a term used a lot in the Nebraska Capitol. “Nebraska Nice.” Wind energy is not Nebraska Nice. Wind energy is a scam that hurts people and animals, wastes billions in tax dollars, and isn’t “green” energy by any definition of the term. Industrial wind energy projects also make terrible neighbors and will utterly destroy the most environmentally sensitive part of our State. Last week the Natural Resources Committee held an interim study hearing on public power. A portion . . .
In response to Senator Dan Hughes’ recent column on the power industry, I must say that some of his statement are conflicting and confusing. He is concerned about bringing LB 504 out of committee because “it would be limiting the property rights of landowners….” LB 504 would put a temporary hold on wind energy development in the Nebraska Sandhills, but possibly should include the entire state. Wind energy has multiple problems, but in terms of property rights; it reduces the . . .
The wind energy controversy in the Sandhills is gaining speed here in the capital city. “The old saying in the Sandhills is ‘once you get sand in your boots, you can never get it all out,'” said Brent Steffen, a rancher in the Sandhills. “The Sandhills just becomes part of you.” For ranchers like Steffen, the Sandhills are Nebraska’s best-kept secret. Now, some are afraid new energy development threatens the fragile ecosystem they call home. “Now the secret is out, . . .
The Kimball County Commissioners gave their approval to the establishment of a new larger wind farm near Kimball after a public hearing Monday on the wind energy site plan and permit application provided by owner Kimball Wind, LLC. The construction of a larger 30 megawatt capacity wind project in the same general area northwest of Kimball where a decommissioned wind project has existed in the past will triple the amount of power generated. Kimball County Board Chair Larry Engstrom says . . .
Dan Welch raises cattle and horses in the Sandhills. He came to Lincoln Friday, along with a slew of other folks from the area, to tell the Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee how he’s doing. “Well, this summer we had a drought, the hay crop’s about half, we fought three range fires, cattle market’s depressed, taxes are going out the roof,” he told senators. Add to that, the Sandhills are being invaded from the south by electric transmission lines and from . . .
LINCOLN – Increasingly price-competitive electricity from wind and a contentious transmission project in western Nebraska brought electricity to the fore at the Capitol on Friday. In between a morning briefing marked by vehement anti-wind sentiment and an afternoon hearing for a study on public power ordered by the Nebraska Legislature’s Natural Resources Committee, opponents on the Capitol steps protested wind farms and a 225-mile electric transmission project planned to traverse the Sand Hills. “There are harsh feelings among senators” who support . . .