Library from Wyoming
Campbell County supported Third Planet getting the permit, but expressed several concerns about the project that it wanted addressed by the Siting Council, including a road use agreement, the set-back distance of the turbines and the bonding of the project.
Campbell County now has zoning regulations for wind farms, but the rules may not apply to the company planning to build the first wind farm in the county.
Terry Weickum, Carbon County Commission chairman said the issue [eminent domain] is particularly salient for Carbon County given the roughly 51 wind farms proposed in the county this time last year, two of which have come to fruition. "Not all of them will be built, but (it's) guaranteed some will," Weickum said. The results may mean the implementation of eminent domain or condemnation authority.
This "visual inventory" is being done through a series of public meetings so the scenic value of these lands can be considered prior to the approval of future wind energy projects. Developers have been constructing on average 200 or more wind turbines for the past several years, and the industry is looking at adding at least another 3,000 wind turbines during the next decade.
To prepare for a planning review of the resource management plans that guide wind energy and other development on public lands, the Bureau of Land Management's Rock Springs and Rawlins field offices are hosting a series of open houses to collect information for a "visual inventory" of southern Wyoming.
A new study finds wind developers can produce some of the cheapest wind energy in the West in Wyoming, but the energy loses some of its price advantage when delivery costs are considered.
OCAS, Inc. spokesman Greg Erdmann will speak to commissioners about how the collision avoidance system works in the wind industry by keeping wind farm lights off at all times -- unless an aircraft is detected in the area. OCAS is touted as the first and only Federal Aviation Administration tested and approved audio-visual warning system in the nation's airspace.
Wyoming's ambitions to become a major exporter of electricity carry with them some negatives along with the positives. One of the negatives is the fact that more power lines are going to crisscross the state. In some cases, that will mean traversing private land whose owners don't want the lines, public land where people don't want to see them for aesthetic reasons, and habitat that sustains a variety of Wyoming's prized wildlife.
A proposed wind farm on White Mountain has sparked a feverish debate throughout Sweetwater County. Next month local residents will get another chance to sound off on the issue. Residents will also be able to learn more about the Obstacle Collision Avoidance System (OCAS).
Wyoming taxes on the wind energy industry would be the highest among Rocky Mountain states if all of Wyoming's pending taxes take effect, according to a new analysis by an industry group.
"It's absolutely ridiculous to site these lines around houses, especially around homes that people have spent their entire life savings on," Walker told Gov. Dave Freudenthal during a town meeting Thursday night in Kemmerer. ...Leaders in Wyoming's wind energy industry want to connect turbines to the power grid and to export more electrical generation out of the state.
Natrona County has only 11 of the 770 wind turbines in Wyoming, but their close proximity to Casper makes them a distinctive feature (they are impossible to miss), and probably will be for decades to come. Yet neither the county or Casper have any specific visual guidelines in their planning regulations concerning wind towers.
The Campbell County Commission has decided to take three more weeks to discuss wind farm zoning regulations before voting on emergency wind rules that it thinks will ensure safe and responsible wind energy development in Campbell County. The commissioners want to pass the wind farm regulations soon so they will be in place before construction starts in August on the first wind farm in Campbell County.
A BP Alternative Energy official says the company is still hoping to proceed with construction of a wind farm in Wyoming County later this year. ...In March 2009, BP officials announced they were putting the project on hold, citing financial problems with other projects.
Campbell County wants wind energy regulations that are more strict than what state law requires - and soon. Wind farms in Campbell County would add yet another piece to the county's energy industry and would provide jobs and tax revenue, but the county also wants to make sure the fields of turbines are acceptable to county residents.
Independent-minded Wyomingites have begrudgingly tolerated the heavy-handed use of eminent domain for decades, understanding that the state's economy rises and falls on energy exports. But recent scenarios plotting out the potential for wind energy development in this infamously windy state - and the power lines that may come with it - has triggered a call to action.
"The general consensus is we will be living in a carbon-constrained world, so it's best to prepare for it," said Rob Hurless, Freudenthal's energy adviser. "If you want to provide power to the California market, there's a clear standard there." Until there's a quantum leap forward in carbon capture for pulverized coal-fired power plants, America's existing fleet seems destined for a gradual retirement. Just how gradually the plants come off line will depend on how federal climate legislation is crafted.
Freudenthal noted the visual impact that wind farms, as well as the transmission lines they require, will have on Wyoming's landscape, has been a major cause for concern with landowners and residents in the state. "We're having a different response to it entirely," he said, when comparing wind energy construction to other energy development ..."[People are] having a real problem with adjusting to the idea that the landscape is going to be visually different than it was in the past."
Specifically, the Task Force on Wind Energy has been asked to consider reforming the state's eminent domain laws, but only as they pertain to electrical "collector" lines -- those lines needed to connect wind farms to major intrastate and interstate transmission lines. The challenge also forces lawmakers to delve into the complexities of interrupted viewsheds that are both public and private.
I returned to Wyoming last summer after a 10-month trip. Arriving home, I was surprised and dismayed to see that tall, futuristic-appearing windmills had popped up in various parts of the Cowboy State ...the idea of windmills has not received thorough analysis. Willy-nilly construction of windmills is filled with unintended consequences harmful to Wyoming and other states in the Rocky Mountain West.