Even green energy can have its costs

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Not everybody is completely sold on green energy, judging by comments made by neighbors to a proposed wind farm in Southwest Nebraska.

"I think it's going to negatively impact our property values," neighbor Larry Chapman said at a Hallam Village Board meeting Monday. "I don't oppose the project, but I don't want one (wind turbine) that's close to my house. Nobody's going to want to buy that acreage."

Long-time residents traveling through areas where wind farms have recently been installed know what Capman is talking about. Wind turbines are an imposing sight, dashing any delusions drivers may have of experiencing vistas shared by the earliest settlers.

Volkswind USA wants to spend up to $190 million to erect 54 wind turbines on 11,000 acres of land in Lancaster and Gage counties, generating 124 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 31,000 homes for a year.

Fifty-two landowners have signed agreements to have turbines on their land. The project would create more than 200 construction jobs and about $700,000 in total tax benefits annually to Lancaster and Gage counties.

Of course, no source of energy is without its drawbacks.

Besides their visual impact, wind turbines have been blamed for killing migratory birds and bats, not to mention noise pollution.

A solar steam project was recently revealed to cause passing birds to burst into flames while flying through sun rays concentrated by an array of mirrors -- the plant operators dubbed them "streamers."

Hydroelectric dams disrupt ecosystems and fish migration, as well as creating greenhouse gasses, although recent studies have indicated the latter is much less than previously thought.

Oil and coal add carbon dioxide to the environment, both from burning and energy expended to transport the fuel.

Nebraska certainly has untapped wind potential that needs to be exploited and hasn't been, because of technicalities associated with our status as an all-public-power state.

Wind won't do it all, however.

It would take more than 500 wind turbines to replace the coal energy generated by NPPD's Gerald Gentleman Station near Sutherland, for example. And, that energy would only be available when there was neither too much nor too little wind.

But it will take all types of energy to meet energy demand.

View 1 comment
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • Good editorial. Not only would it take 500 wind turbines to replace what Sutherland produces but then the cost of the engery produced by the turbines would cost much more.

    -- Posted by dennis on Thu, Oct 9, 2014, at 4:50 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: