Library filed under General from Wyoming
RAWLINS — A resolution to determine whether a potential multimillion dollar wind energy project will be built or not has been delayed by the Carbon County Commissioners due to legal statutes.
The proposed wind build-out agreed upon Thursday is comprised of three new wind farms totaling 1,150 megawatts of potential power and a 140-mile high-voltage transmission line across central Wyoming. The company’s plan to upgrade its existing wind farms is being considered separate from Thursday’s approval.
The developers are also focused on keeping the White House engaged in the project. Without the federal government’s backing through WAPA, TransWest Express would lack the use of eminent domain, a major tool that Trump often relied on in his past life as a real estate mogul. It’s the ability to take ownership of private land for public use.
Sen. Cale Case doesn’t dislike wind power, but he believes that putting up wind turbines reduces the beauty of Wyoming’s wide open panorama, its steppes and its sagebrush-coated hills. And the Republican senator from Lander believes wind should be taxed for taking away that view.
Amazon’s latest wind farm in coastal North Carolina has completed construction and is weeks from beginning operations—and state legislators have just asked the incoming Trump administration to shut it down.
The Ponnequin Wind Farm stands inactive off U.S. Highway 85 Friday afternoon near the Wyoming/Colorado state line south of Cheyenne. Xcel Energy is trying to determine what to do with the wind farm, as it has been inactive for nearly a year.
But company officials say their plans could be derailed by state lawmakers’ proposal to raise Wyoming’s wind production tax. Legislators say raising the tax could help stem a $600 million revenue shortfall, but Power Company of Wyoming representatives warn higher taxes could make the $5 billion project economically unfeasible.
Improperly sited wind-power projects would destroy Wyoming’s wide-open spaces, magnificent viewsheds, and incomparable wildlife. In letters to the Star-Tribune, several individuals have outlined the destruction Chokecherry and Sierra Madre would wreak if approved and constructed. I agree. Another equally dangerous project is the so-called Pioneer Park Wind Power Project.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Under the plan proposed on Tuesday, Pathfinder Renewable Wind Energy would build and operate a $4 billion wind farm near Chugwater, Wyo., 40 miles north of Cheyenne. It would generate up to 2,100 megawatts of electricity, the bulk of which would be destined for California's Los Angeles basin.
Power Company of Wyoming has also applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an eagle take permit, which would allow the company to kill a designated number of raptors each year ...In its application to the state, the company said it intends to provide $1.68 billion in its own funding to build the project. The remaining $3.11 billion will be financed through debt.
Wasatch Wind’s 80 megawatt Pioneer Park wind farm near Glenrock is the youngest of the Big Three, having first been announced in 2010. We don’t know the project’s exact price tag, but we can be sure it is no less than $190 million because that is the minimum threshold needed for the Department of Environmental Quality’s Industrial Siting Council to consider a project application.