Aether LLC, headed up by Thayer County native Gary Aksamit, announced today that it will soon begin construction of a meteorological tower for a second Thayer County wind project.
Met towers measure the amount of wind present in an area and provide an indication of how much electricity may be generated by a wind project. The tower should be installed and operational no later than the second week of July.
“We as a county are trying very hard to keep our financial future in our hands with respect to possible wind farms in our area,” Aksamit said. “Our area was targeted by a wind developer with a high-pressure sales pitch over the winter pushing landowners to sign leases. This group of landowners made the decision to put up our own met tower and do this ourselves.
“By using the Thayer County wind business model we created with the Monument Road project – owning our own met tower and committing the acres to our own organization – we can go find a buyer for our power ourselves and maintain control over this project ourselves,” Aksamit said.
“This natural resource belongs to the landowners of the county and we want them to receive as much benefit as possible.”
This second met tower will provide another basic benchmark on the available wind in Thayer County. Construction will begin the second week of July and will take a few days to build. The 196-foot tower will be located near Byron along Hwy. 8 and is being built by GPCo. Aether LLC will own the tower. The “footprint” of a met tower is less than an acre and the inconvenience to the landowner is very small, Aksamit added. As soon as the tower is up it will begin tracking wind data immediately.
“It will take at least one years’ worth of wind data to validate the value of the wind resource for the landowners,” he said. “Once we have that information, we can give the landowners an idea of what they can expect to financially gain from a wind turbine on their land.”
Owning the met tower is the equivalent of having an irrigation test hole on the farm. “Landowners are in a much stronger position to negotiate when they own their own met tower and they know how much electricity their project can realistically produce,” Aksamit said.
“Sadly enough I think many of the early wind projects launched in Nebraska took landowners by surprise and land leases were signed without any idea of what landowners were committing to or the value of their wind asset.
“I think there is a strong desire from some of those early landowners to have a ‘do-over’ on those negotiations. This is their land, it’s their wind, these wind farms will be on their land for decades and landowners should become aware of what they are signing,” Aksamit said.
(Aeolis Energy LLC, a group of local land owners organized by Gary Aksamit, installed a $40,000 196-foot met tower on Road Q in Thayer County last August. The tower sits on “Monument Road” four miles east of Highway 81.)