The Saline County (Nebraska) Planning and Zoning Board approved a four-month moratorium for new wind farm applications.
As reported by the Seward Independent, the Board’s action came in response to a request made by a local resident, Jeff Koll, during its August 18 public meeting.
Two industrial wind facilities are currently being developed in Saline County, the 300 megawatt (Mw) Milligan One project owned by EDF Renewables and the 300 Mw Cornhusker Harvest wind facilities owned by Apex Clean Energy. These projects are not affected by the moratorium.
‘Ensure the Safety of Further Development’
In the light of the significant wind projects already under construction, Koll said the board should update regulations before allowing further industrial wind farms in the county, “to ensure the safety of further development.”
A majority of the board agreed with Koll’s position, with six members of the zoning board voting to approve a moratorium on accepting new wind farm applications until December 31. One member voted against the moratorium and the zoning board President abstained. During the discussion of the moratorium members of the planning and zoning board noted they had been debating whether imposing limits on noise and lighting from wind facilities, and establishing set-backs from businesses, homes, and other infrastructure, would be justified to protect public health and property values, since July 2019.
If the moratorium agreed to by the planning and zoning board is approved by the Saline County’s Board of Commissioners, project developers will still be allowed to request applications for new wind farm permits, but they would not be accepted for consideration by the board. Whether or not the board ultimately acts to impose new regulations on wind facilities, the moratorium would lapse on January 1, 2021.
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (email@example.com) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.