RAWLINS — A pair of wind developers with future plans for the area received the go-ahead to break ground after the Carbon County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.
Meeting with the Commissioners, Chip Parker of Medicine Bow Wind S LLC and Paul Martin, of Intermountain Wind LLC, each made similar requests to break ground before the winter months prior to requiring a zoning permit.
County Planning Director Sid Fox said a zoning permit is usually required to start construction on a wind farm, but said due to the fact the two were simply requesting to dig holes to beat the colder weather and to meet the requirement for the production tax credit, they did not need the permit.
“The wind energy is typically a pretty big deal because generally they are pretty big projects,” Fox said. “In this case, they wanted to dig a foundation hole.”
The foundation holes will be approximately 70 square feet with a depth of around 6 to 8 feet.
With the requests granted by the Commissioners, the companies agreed to a reclamation bond of about $1,000 to cover the cost that would come with needing to fill the holes if further actions are not taken with the projects in the future.
“If they do the right thing and go out there and fill the holes, it is reclaimed,” Fox said. “The county would release the bond.”
Parker made his request in regards to the first phase of a larger project involved with the Viridis Eolia Master plan, a 1,870-megawatt multi-phased project proposed in Medicine Bow.
In order to receive the OK, Parker provided the state a recommendation packet and is waiting for a letter to proceed, in addition to the agreement provided by the Commissioners.
Receiving his confirmation Tuesday, Parker told the Commissioners Medicine Bow Wind S LCC will plan to dig 2 feet deeper and 2 feet wider on either side after they come back in the coming year to get to good soil.
In addition to that, Parker said he plans to put up two-strand barbed wire, the orange snow fencing and 12-foot flags on each corner of the excavation to keep everyone aware of the hazard.
The first stand-alone project is projected to be 32.5 megawatts and commercially operational in 2017. Parker said work is expected to begin in May.
Martin said he had not done the research required by the state’s Industrial Siting Division or the county to start construction, but still received the OK to break ground for its Two River Project because it is planned to take place on private land near Medicine Bow.
“The requirements to start construction for the federal level are very minimal,” Martin said. “Generally you do not even have a permit.”
From a federal standpoint, companies are seen as starting the construction process by breaking ground.
Intermountain Wind LLC has been initiating their project since late 2015.
Martin said he felt it was better to address the commissioners now since they are looking at developing a wind farm in the future and could be operational as soon as 2019.
Intermountain Wind LLC has been developing wind energy projects in Wyoming the past 10 years, with one in nearby Albany County.