Invenergy To Seek Conditional Use Permit For Upstream Wind Energy

Attention Antelope County residents! If you like those red lights blinking in the night sky, you’ll love this news.
There may soon be more filling the night sky, a lot more.
The Antelope County Planning Commission has set the date for a public hearing to review a conditional use permit being sought by Invenergy for a fourth wind farm here in Antelope County. The hearing will be held at the Antelope County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 19, beginning at 1 p.m.
According to documents obtained from the Antelope County Clerk’s office Monday morning, the Upstream Wind Energy LLC project would consist of up to 350 MW of capacity and be located within a boundary of approximately 70,000 acres mostly in north central Antelope County and possibly a small area in Pierce County. The Project will include up to 168 wind turbines wired within the boundaries. Energy produced from the wind farm would be delivered to the Upstream Collector Substation before delivery to NPPD’s Antelope County Substation.
Once construction would begin, the project is expected to create approximately 390 full and part-time jobs during the approximately 12 to 18 month construction timeframe of the project.
Already, a large number of landowners within the project area have entered into land leases with Invenergy whereby the landowner grants and conveys to Upstream an easement and lease to convert, maintain and capture the flow of wind and wind resources. Final siting and design have yet to be determined, however all wind turbines will be located within 900 feet of the locations proposed on the adjacent map.
The project area is as follows:
• Blaine Township 26N 7W Sections 8-18, 20-29, 35-36 ALL
• Custer Township 26N 6W Sections 7S2, 18-36 ALL
• Neligh Township 25N 6W Sections 1-6, 10-13, 24-25 ALL
• Elm Township 25N 5W Sections 1-30 ALL, 31 N2; SE4, 32-36 ALL
• Willow Township 26N 5W Sections 16-17 ALL, 18 E2, 19-21 ALL, 22 S2, 27-36 ALL
The nameplate generating capacity of each wind turbine will likely be between 1.7 MW – 2.3 MW for a total of up to 350 MW of capacity in Antelope County. The typical GE tower height is 80-meters with a rotor diameter of up to 116-meters. The total height of the wind turbines will be approximately 138-meters (when top blade is directly above and parallel to the tower).
At the present time the location of an operations and maintenance building for Upstream has yet to be determined.
A typical wind turbine and its accessory facilities removes approximately one-third to one-half acre of land from production.
Invenergy currently operates the 310 MW Prairie Breeze Project located near Elgin. It consists of 179 turbines in three phases and represents an investment in excess of $500 million to the participating counties and State of Nebraska. According to documents at the courthouse, Prairie Breeze has 19 full-time employees that operate and maintain the project. Prairie Beeze is expected to contribute over $82 million in economic development including tax payments, employment, landowner payments and local spending over a 25-year period.
If approved, Upstream would result in an annual economic development comparable to Prairie Breeze and would result in the hiring of up to 12 full-time employees.
Following the public hearing, the planning commission will make a recommendation to the Antelope County Board of Supervisors whether or not to approve the conditional use permit. If the supervisors then approve the conditional use permit, as was the case with Prairie Breeze I, II and III, the next step would be approval from the Nebraska Power Review Board before construction could begin.