The Harvey County Commission approved updates to the County's Unified Development Code Section 16.14, in regard to commercial renewable energy projects, at its Oct. 13 meeting.

The action comes after the same code section was reviewed and updates approved by the Harvey County Planning and Zoning Advisory Board at its Sept. 14 meeting.

The planning board and county commission have been reviewing the County's renewable energy regulations, which includes wind and solar, for several months in an effort to clarify rules, define terminology and mapped areas, and outline specific criteria that an applicant must meet.

"We're aware that there has been some interest to pursue a renewable energy project in Harvey County," said Harvey County Commission Chair Don Schroeder. "With that in mind, our boards felt it was important to take the time to carefully review our current regulations and ensure those regulations appropriately address any potential energy projects."

Among the updates to the regulations previously in place:

  • The setback distance from non-participating property lines was established at 1,000 feet. The setback distance from a home remains 2,000 feet.
  • Renewable energy equipment and operations will not be allowed in an area defined as the Sand Hills Overlay District, due to grassland fire response considerations.
  • Restrictions addressing wind turbine flicker, ice throw and noise.
  • Financial protections for project decommissioning and environmental cleanup.

There is no current application submitted for a new commercial wind or solar project in Harvey County.

Any potential future application for a commercial renewable energy project in Harvey County would still be individually reviewed and considered by both the planning board and the county commission.

(Updated Oct. 13, 2022)