Wind advocates in Hallam, Neb., got some good news this week. Volkswind USA, an international wind developer, applied for special use permits from Lancaster and Gage counties to build 54 wind turbines near this Southeast Nebraska community.
“The Center for Rural Affairs is excited for Hallam and encouraged about Volkswind USA’s announcement,” said Virginia Meyer, rural organizer at the Center for Rural Affairs. “We continue to encourage the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) and Lincoln Electric System (LES) to take advantage of the economic, environmental, and health benefits of wind. And this proposed Volkswind USA wind farm is an important step in Southeast Nebraska’s transition from coal to clean energy.”
According to Meyer, a recent NPPD study found that phasing out the Sheldon Station Coal Plant and increasing wind energy in the area will save customers money. Moreover, the Hallam area is well positioned to reap the benefits of wind development. The town is home to Sheldon Station, an aging coal fired power plant. Hallam’s proximity to Lincoln and Omaha and access to transmission lines make it an excellent choice for renewable energy development.
A recent Lincoln Journal Star article (Developer plans 11,000-acre Nebraska wind farm, September 29) reported that Volkswind believes the wind farm will provide more than 200 jobs during the construction period, additional full-time operating jobs, and about $700,000 in total property tax benefits annually to both counties. Volkswind is submitting proposals to LES, which is looking to add up to 100 MW of wind energy to their energy portfolio.
“While wind provides jobs, property tax benefits, and payments to landowners, Sheldon Station contributes to air and water pollution in the Hallam area, preventing area families from enjoying clean air, water, hunting, and fishing,” said Meyer. “Sheldon Station also has 147 reported Clean Water Act violations, the fourth most in the nation. Pollution from Sheldon Station dirties the air, soil, and water; posing a real threat to the health and happiness of area families.”
Sheldon Station is owned and operated by the NPPD, the public power entity that serves most rural parts of Nebraska. Lincoln Electric Systems contracts for about one-quarter of the Sheldon Station’s energy output.
Center for Rural Affairs
Nebraska Public Power District
Lincoln Electric System
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