Lancaster County Sets New Wind Energy Setback

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — County officials in southeastern Nebraska have approved a rule aimed at protecting residents who aren’t being paid to participate in a wind farm project.

The Lancaster County Board voted Tuesday to require wind energy developers to place turbines at least 1 mile away from homes that aren’t participating. The previous setback requirement was 1,000 feet.

County Commissioner Deb Schorr says the rule is the strictest in the state. She says the move will protect homeowners and their quality of life.  Neighboring Gage County has a much less restrictive rule.  Lisa Wiegand is Zoning Administrator for Gage County.

:09                  “whichever is greater”

Gage County has no setback requirement for landowners who are participating in a wind farm project.

:28                  “happening in the field”

The one-mile limit in Lancaster County was proposed by Prairie Wind Watchers, a group of residents from Lancaster and Gage counties that opposes the development of a potential wind farm.

NextEra Energy is considering building a wind farm in Lancaster County.   The Florida-based company operates the Steele Flats Wind Farm in southeastern Jefferson County and Southwest Gage County.

Meanwhile, Gage County Planning Commission members are considering formulating regulations to govern solar energy projects.  Some commission members will be attending an upcoming conference early next month on that topic and will hold a commission meeting, March 19th.

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