The biggest wind farm in North America, backed by Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, notched another win Wednesday in the proposed project’s long path toward reality.
The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Wednesday issued an “Environmental Assessment” of the specific sites for 500 of the 1,000 turbines that will be part of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre (CCSM) Wind Energy Project in southern Wyoming. The agency also issued the study’s draft finding that there were “no new significant impacts” from the construction and installation of the wind turbines.
The BLM, in a statement, called its finding “a key milestone for the largest proposed wind energy facility in North America.”
More approvals are needed, but it's possible that construction work on roads at the wind farm could start in the late summer or fall, said Brad Purdy, a spokesman for the BLM in Wyoming.
The Phase I for the project included in the environmental assessment, which consist of the first 500 wind turbines, will cover about 75,000 acres of private, federal and state land, according to the Power Company of Wyoming, the Anschutz entity that’s developing the project.
But the long-term surface disturbance related to the wind turbines only will be about 849 acres, or 1.1 percent of the land, according to the company.
The $6 billion project, first proposed in 2008, involves up to 1,000 wind turbines capable of generating up to 3,000 megawatts of power. When complete, the wind farm will be capable of generating enough electricity to meet the needs of nearly 1 million households in the western United States, according to Power Company of Wyoming.
The project is expected to involve up to 1,000 jobs during peak construction.
The wind farm will be on 219,707 acres south of Rawlins in Carbon County. BLM oversees about half of the land, with the remainder made up of private land and state land.
It’s the third major win for the project in terms of federal permits.