MidAmerican Energy Considering Development Of Mills County Wind Farm
MidAmerican Energy is exploring the possibility of developing a wind farm in Mills and Pottawattamie counties.
On Thursday night, the energy company hosted an informational meeting in Treynor for property owners who could be impacted if the Silver Creek Wind Farm project comes to fruition.
“Introductory meetings like this inform landowners about our wind farms,” MidAmerican Energy Media Relations Manager Geoff Greenwood said, “the development and construction process and general information about easement agreements.”
According to a preliminary map, a large area in north central Mills County east of Mineola and west of Henderson is being considered for the project. The map stretches south-to-north from southeast of Silver City in Mills County to north of Treynor in Pottawattamie County.
As many as 200 potentially-impacted property owners in Mills County and 400 in Pottawattamie County learned of the project in early January when they received letters from MidAmerican Energy inviting them to attend the informational meeting.
Kelly Stangl, who resides on 275th Street in northern Mills County and admittedly is not a fan of wind farms, said most residents of the area were surprised to hear about the project. She attended the informational meeting but said few details were shared.
“I felt it was a dog and pony show,” she said. “They didn’t even allow people to ask questions after it was over with. They really didn’t tell you anything other then they’re going to start to reach out to landowners that are needed.”
Stangl said a MidAmerican represent-ative did state the reason the area is being considered is because transmission lines that could handle the increased energy generated by the wind turbines are already in place.
Landowners who sign contracts with MidAmerican Energy would be compensated for allowing components of the wind farm, including towers, turbines, underground wiring, junction boxes and other equipment on their property. They could also be compensated for crop damage or reduced yield caused by the project.
Zoning Technician Holly Jackson of the Mills County Building and Zoning Department discussed the project with the Mills County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning.
Jackson noted the majority of land being considered for the project in Mills County is currently zoned agricultural and agricultural/residential. Under the county’s current wind tower ordinance, wind towers cannot exceed 80 feet in height in those two land-use areas. Jackson said the average height of wind towers similar to the wind farm being proposed is 280-350 feet. For the project to move forward, the county would have to change its ordinance to allow for taller towers.
County supervisor Richard Crouch said he has concerns about the potential damage construction of the wind farm could cause for existing infrastructure and the possibility that the project could create a “neighbor vs. neighbor” situation between property owners who sign a lease agreement with MidAmerican Energy and those who don’t.
Crouch said members of the board of supervisors first heard about the project at the same time the letters were sent to landowners. He said past conversations with MidAmerican Energy were focused on the development of solar energy farms.
Greenwood stressed the process is still in the preliminary stages and “nothing has been finalized.”