Shining Light on NextEra’s Forthcomingness (Or Lack Thereof)

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Dark stormy wind turbine field with ray of light.At the Tuesday, October 4, 2022 P&Z meeting, one of the agenda items was to discuss a request for a public informational presentation from NextEra Energy and/or the Board of Supervisors to inform the public on the project which may be coming to Southern Buchanan County. Chad Beatty (Environmental Health and Zoning Administrator) suggested to the commission to recommend or require NextEra Energy hold a public meeting so area landowners are aware of what could possibly be taking place near their residences. That way, if the project does move forward, his office phone doesn’t light up with complaints and inquiries once the project begins. This meeting was attended by two of NextEra’s representatives as well as three representatives for Bright Future Iowa (an organization we now know is funded by NextEra). NextEra’s Buffenmeyer stated they are definitely open to having a meeting in the future for the public, but currently, they don’t have all of the land leases signed and don’t want to be too public quite yet due to a potential competitor trying to steal their ideas or territory. As far as we know no one was contacted by a competitor, nor was the county. Perhaps NextEra can furnish who the phantom competitor was or is. The first public meeting never happened until the Brandon meeting on April 24th, 2023, six and a half months later. NextEra and Bright Future Iowa were not in a big hurry to make this information available to the public.

Gary Gisel from the Board of Supervisors felt that the Wind Turbine Company should host the public meeting. It turns out that NextEra, a multi-billion dollar company who wanted to present their slick PR presentation to try to impress the public, never funded any of the three public meetings that were held at Brandon, Rowley, and Jessup. Instead the full tab for two of the meetings was paid by a small handful of concerned citizens while the third was picked up by the County.

At the December 7th, 2022 P&Z meeting, Beatty said that after the Board of Supervisors meeting, he had two representatives from NextEra Energy come down and talk with him about their project. They showed him several maps with the CSR and how many turbines they could place around their proposed locations. NextEra said they would be more than happy to present to the Planning and Zoning Commission members in a smaller setting without a lot of public attendance. Sound familiar?

To add insult to injury, when the Board of Supervisors approved a one year moratorium regarding the WECS on May 15, 2023, a NextEra representative actually had the nerve to ask if they could still install MET towers in order to start figuring out where to place wind turbines. Many mouths dropped open at this incredible request. Some said “what part of moratorium don’t you understand?” Needless to say, this request was sternly denied.

For NextEra and Bright Future Iowa, the name of the game is keep them in the dark as long as you can.

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My wife and I came to Iowa looking for a new home in 2009 and our realtor showed us a home near Brandon. When we walked through the front door, we were sold by all of the windows showing every side of the beautiful property, including a pond on one side surrounded by woods. Every year we enjoy watching the bald eagles sit in the trees around that pond. This was a dream home for us. I am now retired. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have to fight the possibility of having wind turbines on three sides of my retirement home.

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