SE Nebraska residents want tighter wind farm restrictions

Residents of a southeast Nebraska county are still urging county leaders to adopt more restrictive requirements for wind farms.

As the Hastings Tribune recently reported, Gage County Planning and Zoning officials have received more pressure from residents who want at least a mile setback of turbines from homes.


Prairie Wind Watchers is the group spearheading the requested amendments to Gage County’s wind regulations.

A primary concern is increasing current setback requirements that stipulate turbines must be 3/8 miles from residences. The group is asking that figure to be increased to one mile.

The Prairie Wind Watchers also want a change in how decibel levels are calculated. Wording in the current regulations allows wind energy companies to conduct their own testing, which some think gives them an unfair advantage.

One of those wanting a rewrite of the requirements is Larry Allder who lives near Cortland, Nebraska.

“We’re not trying to rewrite the regulations,” he said. “We think that technology has changed and turbines are getting taller and bigger. The latest now is that the newest turbines are 3.5 megawatts and can be over 700 feet tall. 3/8 of a mile has never been, and is, way to close for a turbine, period.”

The group has also started a petition to force the commission to make the changes in the regulations. Members of Prairie Wind Watchers have expressed frustration that their proposal was first made last March, and nothing has come of it yet.