Library from Wyoming
Utilities are required by a law from 1978 to accept electricity generated by renewable-power projects of less than 100 megawatts. But the law comes with a hitch. Utilities are required to purchase the power only if doing so doesn’t lead to a rate increase for consumers. Current limitations in transmission capacity mean Rocky Mountain Power cannot offer Wasatch a higher price without triggering a rate increase,
The Chokecherry-Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project south of Rawlins is slowly moving through a bureaucratic maze of environmental impact and assessment studies. Although the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have tentative timelines to complete their respective analysis, it is uncertain when construction will begin.
Wind developers previously had to be in commercial production to qualify for the credit. The IRS issued new guidelines in the summer, saying companies only had to show work had begun. The new guidelines are untested in court, said Lay, a lawyer. “I have no doubt they [the developer] will claim to have met these requirements. Whether that claim stands up to the scrutiny of the IRS and its overseers in the Congress is another question."
The goal is to keep eagle deaths to a minimum and find ways to offset the eagles that will be killed. Company officials say the BLM estimate was drawn from eagle mortality rates at wind farms where measures to protect eagles weren't taken.
The changes include moving the locations of some wind turbines and a substation within the project’s already approved area. ...Pioneer Wind Park will be outside of Glenrock, but construction has been stalled after to a series of legal challenges from residents in the area and financial hurdles.
The federal agency has been working with the developer of the 1,000-turbine Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind project for three years to make sure the turbines are placed away from areas frequented by eagles. They've been mapping nesting areas and flight corridors on the vast project area south of Rawlins in south-central Wyoming.
Chokecherry-Sierra Madre is especially concerning, he said, arguing that internal concerns from BLM and Fish and Wildlife staff about bird fatalities have been ignored for political reasons. The project is one of 33 renewable energy developments authorized on public land by the Obama administration, as part of its initiative to produce 10,000 megawatts of green electricity. The project received BLM authorization despite the finding it posed a threat to golden eagles, Schroeder said.
For the first time, the Obama administration is taking action against wind farms for killing eagles. In a settlement announced Friday, Nov. 22, Duke Energy will pay $1 million for killing 14 golden eagles over the past three years at two Wyoming wind farms. The company says it pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
The U.S. government for the first time has enforced environmental laws protecting birds against wind energy facilities, winning a $1 million settlement from a power company that pleaded guilty to killing 14 eagles and 149 other birds at two wind farms in the western state of Wyoming.
Duke Energy Renewables Inc., a subsidiary of Duke Energy Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Wyoming today to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) in connection with the deaths of protected birds, including golden eagles, at two of the company’s wind projects in Wyoming. This case represents the first ever criminal enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for unpermitted avian takings at wind projects.
Wasatch saw its financial partner, Edison Mission Energy, file for bankruptcy last year. The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council subsequently gave the company until May 2014 to secure a financial partner ...Wasatch’s troubles were compounded further when its power purchase deal with utility Rocky Mountain Power expired.
“Seventy-three percent of those places with good potential for wind energy development have high overlap with important migration areas,” Pocewicz says. Wind energy’s impact on bird populations, particularly migratory birds, has been a controversial subject as wind power has grown nationwide. There’s no recent data on how many birds are killed in Wyoming every year by turbines, but nationally, estimates are in the hundreds of thousands.
What needs to happen first, however, is the infrastructure of the site, said Kara Choquette, director of Communications for Power Company of Wyoming, the company behind the project. Without roads and a rail facility to transport parts and labor, there can be no wind farm, Choquette said.
Earlier in 2013, Wyoming Wind & Power LLC (WW&P) submitted an application to the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council seeking approval to construct and operate a 900 megawatt (300 turbine) facility in Platte, Goshen, Converse and Laramie counties. WW&P has canceled the project citing various reasons. A portion of the letter submitted to the Siting Council is provided below. The full letter can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
A man who solicited investors nationwide for a wind farm in Wyoming was sentenced to 12 years in prison for defrauding 83 investors, many of them elderly, of more than $4.4 million by promoting investment in nonexistent wind farms.
A Utah man faces sentencing Tuesday for his role in a scheme that defrauded investors across the country of $4.3 million by promoting non-existent wind farm projects in Wyoming and South Dakota. Robert Arthur Reed, of Salt Lake City, pleaded guilty in May to federal charges of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money.
SWEETWATER COUNTY ZONING RESOLUTION SECTION 18 - WIND ENERGY CONVERSION SYSTEMS
Commission chairman Wally Johnson said that the new regulations will have a long-lasting impact and effect on Sweetwater County. He says the county took its time to get the regulations right because once wind farms are built they are there forever.
BLM's preferred alternative would take the line across the agency-managed Sunrise Mountain Instant Study Area east of Las Vegas. The 10,240-acre ISA is a popular hiking destination and includes Gypsum Cave, which BLM says holds some of the earliest evidence of human inhabitance in the western United States. Running the line though Sunrise Mountain "may entail congressional legislation modifying the designation," according to the draft EIS.
At a permit hearing on July 18, 2011, members of the Industrial Siting Council told the company that Edison Mission financing wasn't enough, Esch said. The council wanted to see additional sources of money. The council gave the company two years to show it had additional resources to fund the project. That deadline - July 18 - is approaching, and the company asked for a new deadline of May 2014.