Hallam residents concerned over windmill farm

By: Jenn Schanz

Large wind farms are on the rise in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the energy from the nation’s wind farms could power 15 million homes. 

But for some, having a wind farm in southeast Nebraska raises big concerns.

“We’ve been out here for 40 some years, and I love the view that we have. And I just don’t want to be looking down and seeing all these, these wind turbines,” says Maurice Lange.

Lange lives in Hallam, close by where a proposed 54–turbine wind farm will go if approved.

Volkswind USA, a company out of Oregon, plans to build the farm between Hallam and Lincoln.

Lange is one of several residents uneasy with the idea, feeling it came out of the blue.

“I didn’t know anything was even happening in regard to this proposed windmill farm, and I had to read it in the newspaper,” he says. 

The first time Lange heard details on the proposal was Monday night at a Hallam Village Board meeting.

I spoke to the Gary Vocasek, the board chairman over the phone. He says Volkswind likely had the project in the works for years, but just recently filed the official paper.

“Hallam is concerned with both the positive and negative impacts that a wind farm could have on the community and the outlying area around the community,” he says. 

Volkswind has told the Village Board the project, estimated to cost between $150 and $190 million, will create 200 jobs and generate enough energy to power 31,000 homes for a whole year.

Company officials say the turbines would be more than a mile away from any home, and landowners who agree to have them on their land would get paid.

I reached out to the president of Volkswind USA, but didn’t get a response. 

The company won’t have the final okay to build until planning commissions for Hallam and Lancaster county sign off on the project.