Library filed under Zoning/Planning from Wyoming
A state board has approved a special-use lease for a $4 billion wind farm in Converse County, the latest -- and biggest -- of several wind power projects in the area. Before their vote Thursday, the State Board of Land Commissioners heard a complaint about a lack of information provided by Clipper Windpower Development Co. officials to its new neighbors. ...The total project will encompass 109,740 acres, including 7,614 acres of state land.
Windmills may soon dot the prairie in southern Albany County, if all goes as planned for a company that places large-scale wind farms in rural areas. Ridgeline Energy, a Washington-based company focused on utility-grade wind projects, has been studying the region for about three years and plans to begin building a wind farm in 2010, Randy Gardner, project manager, said Tuesday before the Laramie City Council.
Casperites can now turn wind into energy without the prior approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Through a simple building permit process, homeowners with land that meets the qualifications are now allowed to install wind turbines in their yards or building-mounted turbines on their houses. The Casper City Council approved unanimously the new ordinances for a final of three necessary votes in a recent meeting. Only Council member Paul Bertoglio expressed dissension for the ordinances in prior meetings, but did not attend this meeting.
One paragraph in the regulations states wind turbines and their towers must be at least a quarter-mile away from any primary structure such as a residence, while another says they must be a half-mile away if the primary building is in certain zoning districts. Interim county attorney Heather Duncan-Malone sees the apparent contradiction. "The language there has been ambiguous," Duncan Malone said. "So we're looking at it to see if it poses a problem."
"We are not surprised that the PSC ruled in favor of Beech Ridge. We've been expecting it. We're deciding on whether we're going to file for a motion to reconsider." Michael Rosalina with Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy says they've opposed the project since its inception in 2004. Despite a loud chorus of voices against the 119 giant wind turbines planned for 23 miles of ridge line, and against the advice of their own staff, the PSC went ahead on Friday and gave Beech Ridge the final approve to move forward with the $300 million project.
Wyoming lawmakers have begun considering whether state or local governments - or both - should regulate wind power developments in the state. ...House Speaker Colin Simpson, R-Cody, who sponsored the joint resolution, said counties should consider regulations that anticipate the long-term effects of an expanding wind energy industry. "There will be state impacts and there will certainly be county impacts," Simpson said. He said the resolution tells counties, "We suggest you pay close attention to this."
The Albany County Commissioners tabled a proposed set of commercial wind energy regulations on Tuesday, thereby sending it back to the planning and zoning commission for more discussion. The proposed wind energy regulations were before the commissioners for a second time for approval. Nevertheless, the commissioners said there were too many conflicting viewpoints between the planning staff, the planning and zoning commission and the wind energy companies to move forward.
The Natrona County Commission on Tuesday approved the necessary measures to allow Chevron Global Power Co. to build an 11-turbine wind farm on the Texaco property near Evansville north of the North Platte River.
The Natrona County Commission is scheduled on Tuesday to approve Chevron Global Power Co.'s request for an 11-turbine wind farm on the Texaco property near Evansville north of the North Platte River. But not if Stan Mundy can help it. Mundy submitted a petition of 114 names of residents of Geary Dome and Lake Drive to the commission last week, voiced his objections at the commissioners' work session.
As Casper's infamous wind blows into town, residents can take comfort they are one step closer to being able to harness the cold gales for energy. Only, of course, if the homeowner meets the city's guidelines. ...Former mayor Paul Bertoglio, on the other hand, voted against the ordinances, saying, "These have absolutely no business in the city limits."
Casper city staff members wrote ordinances on wind generation that would allow a homeowner to construct a wind turbine that fits the criteria with a simple building permit. The Casper City Council will discuss the ordinances in a public hearing tonight, welcoming comment from Casperites.
The county's development department has presented suggestions to the Natrona County Commission to possibly revise a last-minute amendment to an early November resolution requiring mountain residents to obtain conditional use permits -- more complicated than regular permits -- to erect domestic wind turbines. ...But the last minute change irked mountain residents, who persuaded the county's development department to hold a public meeting to determine the support for the conditional use permits.
The Albany County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to delay until at least Jan. 6 their decision on passing a set of commercial wind energy regulations. Commissioners Pat Gabriel, Tim Chesnut and Jerry Kennedy agreed to table their decision on a motion to approve county wind energy regulations because of public comments that the planning and attorney's offices have yet to review.
Natrona County residents will be able to generate their own electricity with small wind turbines, after the county commission approved new regulations on Tuesday. "What's been adopted really opens it up," Eric Nelson said Thursday. Domestic wind turbines will be permitted uses in all zoned areas, Nelson said. However, an amendment to the regulations will require people living on Casper Mountain to obtain conditional use permits, he said.
The Casper City Council discussed a new ordinance in a recent work session that would outline specific rules for personal wind turbines that could be in the city limits. Some council members support the idea, and said the proposed regulations are specific enough to cover possible problems. Other members worry about the impact wind turbines could have in neighborhoods. "I don't like wind turbines in the city," said Casper Mayor Paul Bertoglio. "There's nothing in this ordinance to allow neighbors to object."
So the emergency regulations require wind energy developers to identify haul routes, obtain weight and size permits, and possible studies of road impacts. "If impacts are determined to exist, a mitigation plan and/or long-term road maintenance agreement may be required at the sole discretion of the Board of County Commissioners," according to the emergency regulations. Besides the plan, the developers will be required to pay for the road use. "We don't want the citizens of Natrona County to be taxed for what the big companies are bringing in," Leist said.
A siting permit for a wind farm that will straddle the Albany County and Carbon County border was approved Thursday by the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council (ISC). At a hearing in the Albany County School District No. 1 Administration Building, the ISC approved a conditional-use permit for Rocky Mountain Power's High Plains and McFadden Ridge wind projects. The permit will allow Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, to build wind towers that will produce 188 megawatts of power on land about 13 miles southwest of Rock River off Wyoming Highway 13.
Duke Energy representatives say the company plans to build a 99-megawatt wind farm near Casper beginning early next year. The Campbell Hill Windpower project -- to be located about 15 miles northeast of Casper -- will consist of 66 wind energy turbines, each generating 1.5 megawatts of electricity. Erection of the wind turbines is slated to begin early next year, with the turbines going online by late 2009.
The two Sweetwater County commissioners stood firm during a meeting Tuesday morning on the proposed locations of the 36 turbines for the White Mountain Wind Energy Project. ...Commissioners were also perturbed that Tasco is seeking federal permission to construct an additional 62 wind turbines on Bureau of Land Management lands on White Mountain and has discussed increasing the size of the original project by as many as 200 additional turbines. "The scope has gone from 30-odd turbines to 200 or so units ... and if that's the case, it's not fair to Sweetwater County for you to bring it to us piecemeal like this," Johnson said.
Wind energy producers could have more hoops to jump through if a draft regulation on wind energy in Goshen County is passed. At their monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Goshen County commissioners discussed regulating wind energy activities in the county. Goshen County Planner Mel Eaton and Goshen County Planning Commission Chair Mary Beth Downer provided each commissioner with a draft of a regulation on wind energy in Goshen County. Downer said that the bulk of the information in the draft was the "best" ideas from existing regulations in Platte and Albany counties.