WAYNE – Following an ongoing Wayne County Board of Commissioners subject, a question and answer-based forum was put in place for community members to address questions to multiple members of NextEra Energy Resource, LLC about the Sholes Wind Farm.
County residents filed into the Fire Hall, located at 510 Tomar Drive where the room was set up to hold around 160 people Wednesday evening.
Chuck Parker, a professor in the Business & Economics Department at Wayne State College was the moderator. Project Manager, Phil Clement with NextEra was introduced as other panel members let the public know who they were and what they do. Those included people who deal with construction, a Nebraska Extension Educator, a biologist with Olsson Associates, a NextEra consultant and an associate with Epsilon.
It was stated several times within the meeting that NextEra would like to work together with the community and county. The company will plan on attending future Commissioner meetings and want to keep the landowners and everyone up to date.
“Especially as we get closer to construction,” said Clement. “But, also with the community at-large and all the county officials and making sure everybody’s questions are answered and concerns are addressed as best we can.”
A tower map for the Sholes Wind Farm is still being completed, but it will be placed in western Wayne County from south to north.
Roughly 45 questions were addressed in 90 minutes ranging from the economic impact, construction, wind speeds, safety factors and more.
Audience questions were written then brought to the moderator on a note card. Clement was able to talk to some community members face-to-face when the doors opened at 5:30 p.m. and even 20-25 minutes after the forum.
“People brought up really questions,” Clement added. “And they’re all, obviously very, very valid concerns. So, I was just really thankful for the opportunity to be able to talk to some of the people in Wayne County.”
Depending on the transmission scheduling in working with NPPD, NextEra is planning to start construction in 2019. When the operation date is set, about nine months priors the construction process will begin.
Clement praised the commissioners for setting up the forum and to the moderator for getting through the questions. He would have liked for everybody’s questions to get answered and another meeting could be planned to have a conversation.
“I thought this was a great start,” Clement mentioned. “We’re not going anywhere, and I just really want to have a continuing dialogue with everybody here in Wayne.”