08 March 2013

Years Before Turbines Built in Cherry County?

It will likely be a few years before any wind turbine facilities will be built within Cherry county, according to particular details indicated at a meeting on February 21, 2013 at Lincoln.

There are no transmission lines currently available to distribute any generated electricity, based upon specific considerations associated with any pending construction of turbine facilities within the county, according to comments made at the meeting.

The meeting, held at the offices of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, included Michelle Koch, the state agency's Environmental Analyst Supervisor, a representative and attorney associated with Bluestem Sandhills L.L.C. which is a proponent for turbine construction, and someone from Olsson Associates which is the environmental consultant hired by the Cherry County Wind Energy Group. A representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was also involved via telephone, at the invitation of Bluestem Sandhills L.L.C.

Three particular "zones" are currently being considered as suitable for turbine facility development, Koch said. They are in the north-central part of the county around the Nenzel-Kilgore area, within the southeast section and also in the south-central area.

One region that has been excluded, in association with the turbine facility developer present at the meeting, was in the vicinity of the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge.

Other topics discussed where when a facility might be constructed and its extent, Koch said. Wildlife and habitat concerns associated within the county and its biologically unique features were also considered. She also asked if the turbine facility developer had any interest in participating in research regarding the placement of turbines and any ancillary effects upon local features.

The federal agency is willing to provide "technical assistance" if necessary, said Michael George, supervisor of the Nebraska field office of the Fish and Wildlife Service.