Fremont County Courthouse

(Sidney) -- Fremont County is the latest in KMAland with regulations for wind turbine construction in place.

At its regular meeting Wednesday morning, the Fremont County Board of Supervisors approved the third and final reading of the county's wind turbine ordnance. With the potential for wind energy production in the county, Supervisors Chair Randy Hickey tells KMA News the board wanted provisions in place for turbines.

"There was a lot of interest down there in the southeast corner of the county," said Hickey. "The people wanted it, and we felt we had to get an ordinance in place so that we could protect everybody."

Among other things, the ordinance includes setback regulations, with restrictions for turbine development near two particular areas.

"The houses stayed the same," he said. "We had a two-mile setback for the Loess Hills, and the Missouri River. Then, we kind of went by what Page County did, and went with 1.1 (feet) times the height of the tower.

"We tried to work with everybody, so that we could make it work for everybody," Hickey added.

Hickey says protecting the Loess Hills was a priority for the supervisors.

"We wanted to protect the Loess Hills," said Hickey. "It's always been part of everything, you know. Then, we also felt like it wouldn't have been an ideal spot for them (wind turbine companies) to even get to. And, I think they agreed, too."

Hickey says the board received input from the public, as well as wind energy company representatives.

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Hickey believes the public had ample opportunity to provide input on the proposed ordinance. With the regulations in place, Hickey says turbine development is possible in the county within the next year.