Library from Wyoming
Some legislators were unmoved by the pleas made by Miller and other wind proponents to the committee. “If it kills a project, it kills a project,” Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, said. “If wind doesn’t provide some form of significant benefit to the state of Wyoming, I don’t care if it’s here.”
The Bureau of Land Management is advancing a major multistate transmission line project that the Obama administration considers a top priority in its ongoing efforts to develop wind and solar power in the West.
A group of lawmakers, accusing wind farms of “seeking to shut down” the coal industry, drummed up proposals Wednesday to increase taxes on the renewable energy source to raise money for education. ...Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, disagreed, arguing that wind turbines destroyed viewsheds for up to 200 years, a much longer time than mines and drilling rigs. “With wind, that viewshed is lost forever,” he said. “It is severed.”
Representative Michael Madden is co-chair of the Revenue Committee. He says wind should pay a similar tax rate as coal and gas, even though it is a renewable resource. “I can’t see any fundamental reason to treat one different from another," he said.
The proposed site is located near an existing wind farm operated by TransAlta, said Krista Mann, Invenergy senior business development manager. Between 50 and 70 turbines would be built on a site largely made up of private land. The topography is suitable for development and transmission is available, she said.
Wind power generation had its smallest increase in 16 years due to less intense wind speeds in Utah and eight other Western states in the country. Even though wind generation capacity jumped by 13 percent in 2015, the actual output grew 5.1 percent.
Chokecherry and Sierra Madre, the largest onshore wind farm planned in the United States, would annually kill 10 to 14 golden eagles, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service projected in a draft environmental study released Wednesday. ...Federal officials attributed the decline to several factors. The permit application submitted by the project’s developer, Power Company of Wyoming, only considers the 500 turbines proposed in the project’s first phase. A second phase calls for an additional 500 turbines.
But the project still faces a series of hurdles before reaching completion, including questions over potential eagle deaths and a lawsuit from opponents seeking to block the new turbines.
A federal appeals court is rejecting an effort by a Salt Lake City man to overturn his conviction for bilking investors in a fraudulent wind farm business, just days after rejecting a similar appeal from the man's sister. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Monday rejected the latest appeal from Robert Arthur Reed of Salt Lake City.
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.
Rocky Mountain Power is seeking to reduce from 20 years to 3, the length of contracts it is required to offer mid-sized producers, under a regulation that has recently been used to promote wind and solar power development. ...Rocky Mountain Power contends the 20-year term is hurting consumers because it is unable to take advantage of the rapidly declining cost of wind power, particularly, as well as other sources.
Salt Lake City-based sPower will need to start construction this week on the controversial $120 million Pioneer Wind Park project if it hopes to beat the Feb. 15 expiration date set by the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council. For its part, the company says the long-awaited project south of Glenrock will begin on time.
Long-planned Anschutz Corp. wind power generation and transmission project in Wyoming might be functioning by 2023
Albany County could gain a new source of energy within the next few years if permits are granted for a proposed wind farm and transmission line project.
Under the settlement, PacifiCorp was required to pay $400,000 in fines, $200,000 in restitution to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and $1.9 million to the congressionally chartered National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to help protect golden eagles near the company’s wind facilities.
Richard O’Gara, of Cheyenne, said he voted against the project because he wanted more information. The company did not provide an income statement nor explain its relationship to Fir Tree, he said. Instead, sPower produced a balance sheet showing its assets and liabilities from the first half of 2015.
Court records show the scam involved acquiring land near Casper and in Butte County, South Dakota, to satisfy investors that the projects were moving forward with construction of wind farms. Organizers put up signs at the South Dakota site and took pictures of contractors they hired to push dirt around to make it appear construction was ongoing.
Wyoming’s sage grouse strategy may have satisfied federal regulators this week, but conservation groups say the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision doesn’t prove grouse are in recovery. ...“The sage grouse faces huge problems from industrial development and livestock grazing across the West,” Molvar said in a press release. “And now the interior department seems to be squandering a major opportunity to put science before politics and solve these problems.”
But in Wyoming, one of the breeziest states in the country, no new wind capacity has been added since 2010. Moreover, no new additions are expected in the near term, as projects already on the planning board work their way through a lengthy permitting process. The main constraint facing the industry in the state remains transmission, analysts said.
The NLRA has challenged the turbines at the Wyoming Supreme Court, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in federal court. It lost in all three venues but succeeded in slowing Pioneer with a flood of legal briefs. The next showdown will come at the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council, the state regulatory board that permits large-scale developments. On Monday, the commission will consider sPower's request to reduce its reclamation bond for the facility after initial plans were downsized.