Lincoln County Commissioners hold public hearings regarding renewable energy

Lincoln County Commissioners hold public hearings regarding renewable energy, dozens gather to testify
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 10:29 AM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The Lincoln County Commissioners held their weekly meeting in a non-traditional fashion on the third floor of the county courthouse on Monday for two public hearings.

More than 60 people packed into the Lincoln County District Courtroom to publicly testify and give their opinions on the county zoning regulations regarding solar and wind energy systems. The hearing, which at times was contentious, centered around solar energy panels and wind turbines that could be installed in Lincoln County.

Many spoke about how companies potentially installing solar and wind energy systems and panels will negatively affect Lincoln County. It’s proposed that 50 wind turbines could be installed along with dozens of solar panels.

Tory Copeland served on the board for the Village of Sutherland and said testified once they (commissioners) approve of one company, others will follow.

“The ramifications of this are huge,” Copeland said. “It has to be that if you don’t structure you will have to approve everyone that comes through here that meets your rules and regulations and the neighboring property owners have zero recourse once you guys approve that.”

Carleigh Houghtling, a representative from Invenergy, a renewable energy cooperation headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, was also present at the meeting and spoke about the potential positive impacts for Lincoln County.

“If Lincoln County had a total of 400 megawatts installed, it would bring the county about $1.4 million per year which would be a substantial in revenue for the county that would not require any tax hike for residents,” said Houghtling.

Other topics that were discussed were nuclear energy and power plants, attacking the Biden administration’s approach to renewable energy, and the impact on county roads, among other topics.

The commissioners will take all of the information under advisement and will make a decision at their November 6th meeting.

You can find the Lincoln County Commissioners meeting along with the public hearings here.