Nebraska wind farm decision delayed

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2016

NELIGH, Neb. (AP) – A proposed wind farm has been delayed in Antelope County near Neligh.

A crowd of about 300 people attended a public hearing Tuesday to discuss the proposed wind farm that’s expected to have about 160 turbines.

After the nearly seven-hour long meeting, the Antelope County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to delay a decision on allowing a conditional use permit for the project until their next meeting on June 7 in order to consider letters of support and opposition they’ve received.

Twenty-two people spoke in favor of a conditional-use permit application for Invenergy, the company seeking to build the wind farm. The same number spoke against it.

Those in favor of the wind farm say it could increase jobs, tax revenues and clean energy. Opponents are worried about noise and want to see tighter restrictions on setback distances on property.

Brunswick resident Pat Meuret said the county should have a 2,000-foot setback from the tower to the nearest property line instead of to the nearest residence, which the current proposal says.

Many of those in favor of the wind farm said the county can’t afford to let the economic opportunities pass by. Having a renewable industry is attractive to other companies, especially millennials who work for them, said Greg Ptacek, Neligh’s economic development director.

Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said he approves of the wind farm project and that it’s not surprising for the county to receive favorable attention because it has “world-class wind and transmission.”

“You will continue to get looks,” Hansen said.

Invenergy began operations seven years ago in the southern part of Antelope County, said Mick Baird, vice president of development. It has 18 employees in the Elgin area and has invested more than $500 million in the county.