Library filed under General from Wyoming
The Wyoming Infrastructure Authority is tracking seven major electrical transmission proposals at a combined cost of $15 billion, potentially adding 15,000 megawatts of new electrical generating capacity in and around the state. It's the shared ambition of Wyoming, which wants the economic benefits of exporting power, and Western states that want additional megawatts to come from cleaner forms of energy.
Mounting opposition from private landowners has prompted federal regulators to take an additional five to six months in the analysis of the Gateway West Transmission Line Project. The proposed high-voltage transmission line would span 1,150 miles from Glenrock to Melba, Idaho.
Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal praised in separate press releases July 16 a decision by electric utilities and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to look at alternative routes for the Gateway West transmission project proposed by PacifiCorp and Idaho Power Co. The decision came in response to mounting concerns from constituents.
Wyoming is working to prevent low-flying aviators from crashing into the hundreds of towers that wind-energy speculators have erected to measure development potential. ...This spring, the state began requiring all new met towers over 50 feet tall, or those that change ownership or lease, to be marked so they're visible in daylight.
A newly formed alliance of landowners in southeast Wyoming says its has more than 6,000 megawatts of wind energy resources, but not enough power line transmission to finalize deals with developers. ...The alliance went before the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority board last week to advocate that more electrical transmission capacity be made available to independent generators.
Wind power development in southwest Wyoming could get a big boost tonight from the Sweetwater County Commission. The three-member board will meet at 5:30 p.m. in Rock Springs City Hall to gather public comments -- and possibly vote on -- a proposal by a Utah wind developer to build 237 wind turbines on White Mountain. Tasco Engineering Inc. of Lehi is spearheading the county's first substantial wind energy project.
Developing a wind turbine manufacturing and servicing industry in Natrona County is hampered by a lack of buildings large enough to house the massive equipment, a local economic development expert says. Robert Barnes, president and CEO of the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance, pointed out that it takes a large structure to contain a bay area that can accommodate a 75-foot wind turbine blade.
A company plans to build a $420 million wind farm with 133 turbines in southwest Campbell County. San Ramon, Calif.-based Third Planet Windpower is eyeing 14,000 acres for the project on both sides of Wyoming Highway 50 near the Johnson County line. The company has begun talking to local landowners about leasing land.
Campbell County has been the epicenter of energy development in Wyoming since the county's first coal mine opened. Then came the oil, followed by natural gas. But many thought Campbell County would not buy into the wind energy industry. ..."The wind is not quite as good (as it is in southeast Wyoming), but it is still economically developable," Clark said. "It is just so far from transmission."
Regulation of wind energy is a step that ranchers and landowners can agree needs to happen before it becomes a thriving industry in Wyoming. They've seen what has happened before with coal, oil and coal-bed methane when those industries popped up in the last century, and they want to forego the same troubles as before.
Neighbors of the proposed wind farm northeast of Evansville reasserted their claim this week that they did not receive adequate notice of the county's final vote to approve conditional use permits for the project, according to court documents. They still want 7th District Court to review and declare invalid the Natrona County Board of County Commissioners' approval of the permits because the county violated the terms of its own Wind Energy Conversion System Emergency Regulations approved last fall.
Power Company of Wyoming, an affiliate of Denver-based Anschutz Corp., wants to build 1,000 wind turbines ...The influx of wind developers has raised hopes for jobs and economic development, but has also prompted concerns about erecting hundreds of 230-foot-tall turbines on largely undeveloped land. Locals and land managers, many of them veterans of the decade-long gas boom that brought a frenzy of development to Wyoming, point to the wind boom's potential downsides for wildlife, landscape vistas and local infrastructure.
Chevron Global Power Co. will begin construction on its 11-turbine wind farm project northeast of Evansville despite the litigation from its neighbors, a spokeswoman said Friday. "Our plan is to proceed with the project unless instructed not to," Jennifer Silva said Wednesday. ...The neighbors filed a petition on April 24 asking 7th District Court to review and invalidate the county commission's approval of two conditional use permits and for a variance. They claimed the county violated its own Wind Energy Conversion System Emergency Regulations approved last fall, according to the petitioners' attorney Michael McGrady.
A task force began a study Wednesday of what Gov. Dave Freudenthal described as the "gold rush" of wind energy development. Representatives of the governor's office, all affected state and federal agencies, industry and various conservation and landowner groups over-filled the large meeting room on the third floor of the Capitol Building for the organizational meeting. Sen. Jim Anderson, R-Glenrock, was chosen chairman of the task force and Rep. Rodney Anderson, R-Pine Bluffs, was named vice chairman.
About 200 concerned citizens flocked to Douglas May 7 for the first meeting of the Northern Laramie Range Alliance, an organization of landowners and citizens bent on stopping the development of wind turbines and the construction of a segment of Rocky Mountain Power's proposed Gateway West Transmission Line in the northern Laramie Mountains. "The main objective of the (Northern Laramie Range Alliance) is that we want to successfully oppose both of these things," Kenneth Lay, one of the alliance's founding members, explained.
Dozens of rural landowners want to "curb enthusiasm for" and ultimately kill plans to plant wind turbines and string a green-field power line segment across the northern Laramie Range in Converse and Albany counties. The areas in question are mostly private lands described as pristine mountain wilderness and home to some of the best elk herds in the state. "It's finally dawned on us what the scale of wind development plans is in the state," said Kenneth C. Lay, a Laramie Range landowner and organizer of the new landowners group, Northern Laramie Range Alliance.
New Interior Secretary Ken Salazar went overboard when he said recently that windmills off the East Coast could generate enough electricity to replace most, if not all, of the coal-fired power plants in the country. ...It is clear that the new administration is changing the nation's energy policy, putting more focus on renewables and clean energy. But coal has clearly not been taken out of the equation, even though we're not likely to see construction of many more traditional coal fired power plants.
Brent Lathrop, Southeast Wyoming program director for The Nature Conservancy, said that while conservation groups are excited about an alternative to traditional energy development in the state, turbines could be just as damaging to a landscape as oil and gas development. "We could be facing a bigger impact on our wildlife than oil and gas ever thought about doing," he said.
Last week, the Bureau of Land Management authorized the establishment of special offices in Wyoming and other Western states to expedite that renewable energy development on federal public lands. BLM officials said Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne issued a Secretarial Order on Friday that will allow the agency to establish coordination offices in Wyoming, Arizona, California and Nevada.
Natrona County's time has come for a commercial wind power farm of its own. Representatives of Chevron Global Power Co. will plead their case tonight to the county's Planning and Zoning Commission to erect 11 wind turbines on the former Texaco property north of the North Platte River near Evansville. "This will be our first wind project, and the first (commercial) one in Natrona County," said Jennifer Silva of Chevron Global Power Co.