Library filed under Transmission from Wyoming
Freudenthal noted the visual impact that wind farms, as well as the transmission lines they require, will have on Wyoming's landscape, has been a major cause for concern with landowners and residents in the state. "We're having a different response to it entirely," he said, when comparing wind energy construction to other energy development ..."[People are] having a real problem with adjusting to the idea that the landscape is going to be visually different than it was in the past."
Specifically, the Task Force on Wind Energy has been asked to consider reforming the state's eminent domain laws, but only as they pertain to electrical "collector" lines -- those lines needed to connect wind farms to major intrastate and interstate transmission lines. The challenge also forces lawmakers to delve into the complexities of interrupted viewsheds that are both public and private.
TransCanada has signed agreements with three wind energy developers to supply power to the company's proposed $3 billion electrical transmission line that would run from Wyoming to the Southwest. ...TransCanada and other Wyoming wind interests have been concerned about recent actions by the California Public Utilities Commission that they believe could limit renewable energy produced outside of that state.
Rocky Mountain Power, in cooperation with the BLM, is planning to run a major electrical transmission line corridor across Commissary Ridge at the southern end of the Wyoming Range, north of Kemmerer and west of LaBarge. This power line will destroy wildlife habitat and pollute the scenic beauty of the landscape with its imposing size. Although installation of this line will cause our power rates to increase, its intent is not to provide additional power to Wyoming, but to residents in the overcrowded states to our west.
Developers of a proposed power transmission line linking southeast Wyoming wind fields and the Colorado Front Range say they believe in the project and are forging slowly ahead, despite a Colorado utility's rejection of Wyoming wind. New Jersey-based LS Power and the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority are partnering to develop the 180-mile line between substations at Wheatland and Brush, Colo. It's one of six major transmission lines proposed by developers hoping to tap Wyoming's potential wind power resources.
Transmission developers with plans to send Wyoming wind power to western states hungry for renewable energy are trying to figure out how to connect scattered wind farms with proposed export power lines. The Wyoming Infrastructure Authority formed the Wind Collector and Transmission Task Force last summer to develop a coordinated system.
Western states seem to have a wide portfolio of energy resources and the consumer markets to better meet the ambitions of both energy-producing states and energy-importing states. What's missing is a strategy for beefing up and modernizing the Western electrical grid to make those connections, according to industry officials. "We can't even connect the dots on a piece of paper. It's like the weather -- everybody talks about it, but nobody ever does anything about it," said Richard Walje, president of Rocky Mountain Power.
A Canadian company is seeking wind power developers to move electricity along a pair of $3 billion transmission lines in Montana and Wyoming -- potentially spurring a major increase in renewable power exported from the Rockies to the Southwest. The two lines would move 3,000 megawatts of power from each state. That's more than three times as much wind power as Wyoming currently produces and eight times what Montana has.
Wyoming wind power, if reasonably developed, would more than double the amount of electricity produced by all other sources in the state, a representative of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority said Wednesday. Wyoming wind ultimately could produce about 15,000 megawatts a year, Steve Ellenbecker told the Wind Energy Task Force at the McMurry Training Center. "Fifteen-thousand megawatts is a threshold we could accomplish," Ellenbecker said.
Wyoming's recent rush on wind power led by utility giant Rocky Mountain Power could settle out during the next year and not pick up again until major new power lines begin connecting to the state in 2014. But even that's not a given. "Good luck getting financed," said Nate Sandvig, project manager for Horizon Wind Energy. Wind proponents say credit markets make it difficult for independent generators and transmission companies to get into the game.
Wind farms generate a lot of electricity, but not a large number of permanent jobs once the construction phase is over. And although the projects are desirable because they use an abundant renewable natural resource, the only significant revenue the units are generating in Wyoming at this point is through property taxes in the counties where they are located. Their property tax bills so far are modest.