Library from Wyoming
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.
And turbines are still something of a novelty for most of us, so the "not in my backyard" mentality hasn't yet set in when it comes to wind farms. In fact, as we reported in the Energy Journal, groups of ranchers in eastern Wyoming -- seeing an opportunity to make some money without significantly disrupting their ag operations -- have banded together to market their properties to wind energy developers. That, of course, could change. As turbines begin to spring up in more sensitive, pristine spots, or closer to residential areas, the novelty could wear off quickly.
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.
The agency will conduct an environmental impact statement, which will analyze the potential impacts of the 1,000-turbine wind farm spanning about 98,500 acres, according to the BLM. Federal land managers will consider concerns regarding rights-of-way as well as the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of installing and maintaining the facilities, which would include access roads, electric power gathering cables, an electric transmission line, and electric substations.
Freudenthal's executive order consists of 12 guidelines and a map of "core" areas where the stipulations could be implemented. "The executive order does not create any new authority and legally only applies to state agencies, but is a vehicle to at least align the existing authorities of state government to ensure that we move forward under a more unified framework," Freudenthal said in a prepared statement. New development will not be prohibited within the state-identified "core areas," but several stipulations may apply in order to demonstrate that activity will result in no loss of sage grouse or sage grouse habitat, according to the executive order. Reclamation efforts and fire suppression will be "enhanced" in the core areas.
The $3 billion, 900-mile-long, high-voltage line would provide for 3,000 megawatts of wind energy generation in Wyoming for delivery to emerging renewable energy markets in the Desert Southwest, according to Anschutz affiliate TransWest Express LLC. The announcement comes just weeks after another affiliate of Anschutz, Power Company of Wyoming LLC, filed notice to the Bureau of Land Management of its intention to install some 2,000 megawatts of wind generation in Carbon County. The permitting process for both projects could exceed two years.
The Anschutz Corporation, through an affiliate Transwest Express LLC, has acquired the rights to develop a proposed $3 billion, 900-mile, 3,000 megawatt high-voltage transmission line to bring electricity from wind farms in southern Wyoming to growing markets of southern California, Las Vegas and Phoenix. ...Another Anschutz affiliate, Power Company of Wyoming, LCC, already has started work developing a 2,000 megawatt wind farm project in Carbon County Wyoming.
A newly proposed wind power project in southern Wyoming would be one of the biggest in the world, and would more than triple the current number of utility-sized wind turbines in the Cowboy State. The proposal involves two adjacent wind farms in Carbon County that would be erected -- with a total of 1,000 turbines producing 2,000 megawatts of electricity, said Bruce Collins, spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management's Rawlins office. The two farms, taken together, would be one of the largest wind power projects on the planet, surpassing the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Taylor County, Texas, which has 421 turbines and a production capacity of 735 megawatts, according to Florida Power and Light, the owner of the Texas wind farm.
A Texas-based wind energy company is making plans for the construction of a new wind farm in eastern Carbon County. Project manager Nate Sandvig of Horizon Wind Energy presented plans for the project this week to the Carbon County Commission and the Carbon County Planning Commission. ...The new wind farm would be located in the Simpson Ridge area south of Medicine Bow, near PacifiCorp's Arlington wind farm. Energy produced at the site would be shipped to California and other parts of the Pacific Coast, Sandvig said.
Electrical power producers are in line to build 850 megawatts of new electrical generation in Wyoming -- and most of it will be wind energy, according to the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority. ...Steve Waddington, executive director of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, said 12 different "bidders" successfully passed a financial credit check and are qualified to compete for transmission capacity on the proposed power line. "It's not exclusively wind developers that are qualified to bid, but it is predominantly so," Waddington said. "The project looks pretty promising."
In southeast Wyoming, they've pledged 1 million acres of land in hopes that wind farm developers will choose them, says Scott Zimmerman, a farmer and rancher in Laramie County. But Susie Lemaster, who is not an owner of vast acreage, built a house with her husband in the country four years ago near Horse Creek Road. She doesn't want to see the neighboring land filled with 500- foot towers topped with rotating blades, making electricity.
The proposed wind farm was also a major topic discussed by the Sweetwater County Commissioners Tuesday morning. During a presentation from the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council, Tom Schroeder, program principal for the ISC, said the White Mountain wind farm was one of the projects the council expected to see a permit application from. Schroeder said the wind farm would be built in phases and said a wind farm the size of the proposed project would be 12,000-15,000 acres. The project was originally permitted to be built on land owned by the Rock Springs Grazing Association. However, with the proposed 200 additional wind generators, land owned by the Bureau of Land Management will also need to be utilized.
BP Alternative Energy will begin to seek permits from the state later this month into early June for a wind turbine facility it hopes to have in operation in the southern part of Wyoming County by the end of 2009. ...Despite the public outreach on Thursday by BP, some people who attended the open house remained skeptical about the project, such as Carl Crispell, who owns 178 acres on South Mountain. He said that he has a hunting cabin on the mountain and is working with BP to lease his land for turbines. Asked why he will be leasing his land despite his skepticism, Crispell said he feels he doesn't have much of a choice because the turbines "will be all around us anyway."
Local government officials are concerned about the cumulative effects of two major Rocky Mountain Power projects in Converse County, and they hope impact fees will help alleviate law enforcement, housing and other concerns. Rocky Mountain Power recently obtained an industrial siting permit for two 66-turbine, 99-megawatt wind farms in the Rolling Hills area near Glenrock, with the potential to add another 26. Now, the company is proposing major maintenance and pollution control upgrades to the coal-fired Dave Johnston Power Plant on the outskirts of Glenrock. State Industrial Siting Council permits are required for projects with construction costs of $170.3 million or more. The process is designed to help communities deal with the impacts of major new projects. ...Parfitt said an industrial siting permit for the Dave Johnston work would consider the cumulative impacts of Rocky Mountain Power's Rolling Hills and Glenrock wind farms. In particular, the council would weigh overlaps of work forces and potential housing issues.
Developers will take bids from power generators, distributors and others for space on a proposed power line to transmit electricity from eastern Wyoming to the Colorado Front Range. Developers of the "Wyoming-Colorado Intertie" project will hold an open-season auction in June, hoping to collect commitments for up to 900 megawatts of transmission. Wyoming wind-generated power is expected to make up a significant portion of the power committed to the line, according to officials. If the June auction is successful, the line could be built and put into operation by mid-2013.