An energy expert came to town Tuesday, to introduce herself to county leaders in hopes to get their blessings concerning the possibility of a new energy line passing through.
Brittany Bruce, associate project manager, representing NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, a Juno Beach, Florida-based company, presented packets and some maps before she advised commissioners about the Soldier Creek Project that entails a proposed energizing route from a wind farm in Nemaha County through Jackson and Jefferson counties, via a western portion of Atchison County through Kapioma, Benton and Center townships, linking it through to Leavenworth County along the way to its destination point.
Chairman Jack Bower said he would like a better understanding and more about the process and the benefits for county and its residents. Bower also questioned how the public would be compensated?
“You’ll be harvesting energy from Nemaha County?” Bower asked. Bruce’s reply indicated Bower’s understanding was on the right track.
Vice-chairman Eric Noll and Commissioner Henry W. “Bill” Pohl agree they had each heard some talk in the past few years about a proposed wind energy company coming through the county, but no company representatives had approached the Atchison County Commission until now.
Pohl asked if any part of the project would be subject to county taxes.
Bruce said the project would more than likely need to cross some of the public right-of-ways. The county roads involved in the routes would be restored to the present or more improved conditions to what they were before the project construction moves along, Bruce said. The company does not utilize eminent domain, but negotiates directly with the landowners.
Jackson County officials were conducting a ride-along with the company representatives, and have already had conversed with the affected township representatives in Atchison County.
Commissioners agreed they would like more time to review their packets before they make any decisions.
Bruce said she had been in contact with the county’s road and bridge department, but it was during the interim before the county’s newly-hired Public Works Director Jay Harbour had stepped into the lead role.
Bruce and commissioners agreed they will meet again within the near future to discuss details like permitting and prospective route possibilities as well as any clarifications about the project itself.