When considering the construction of an industrial wind project within a county, several key issues need to be addressed for the health and safety of everyone potentially living within its footprint.
The most important issue to be considered is setbacks. The current Douglas County WECS ordinance, written in 2009, calls for a setback of only 1,000 feet from a home or dwelling, not property line.
The 1,000-foot setback is neither a fair nor reasonable distance when it comes to the health and safety of the people who live in the footprint.
In most every country in Europe, the setback is a minimum of four times the turbine height, which for a 600-foot turbine would be 2,400 feet.
Secondly, there is the issue of decommissioning costs. The current ordinance has no provision for securing the cost of decommissioning, only suggesting options like bonds. Property devaluation is a concern. There is no protection clause in the current wind ordinance, or even a requirement for a real estate value impact study to be conducted.
Finally, there is the issue of noise and shadow flicker. These towers will make noise. While the current ordinance does specify sound levels, it does not require sound studies be performed prior to construction, nor does it provide for post-construction study funding in the event of complaints.
Until these issues are addressed, I don't see how the Douglas County Board can even accept EDPR's application, let alone approve it.
AMY E. WALCH