Library filed under Transmission from Wyoming
“The routes unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in Northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
In a statement, Alex Daue, assistant director for energy and climate for the Wilderness Society, said the two newly approved routes “unnecessarily destroy wilderness-quality lands in northwest Colorado and eastern Nevada, as well as greater sage-grouse habitat. Readily available alternative routes could have minimized or eliminated these impacts by following highways and designated utility corridors.”
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.
Why on earth would anyone want to get into the costly, complicated business of wind generation and transmission? ...The business case is to bring renewable energy from Wyoming to California. But like anything else, that remains to be seen, so it is a gamble.
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.
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.
Phil Anschutz - who has made money out of everything from a well explosion to a failing railroad - is looking to wager $9 billion on the fierce winds of Wyoming. Anschutz's Power Company of Wyoming is seeking to build the nation's largest wind farm and then ship the power to California over a 725-mile transmission line, the longest to be built in decades.
PJM Interconnection said in a release on Wednesday that grid conditions had changed since the 765-kilovolt, 275-mile PATH transmission line extending from West Virginia to Maryland was proposed by American Electric Power and FirstEnergy in 2007. "Our updated analysis no longer shows a need for the lines to maintain grid stability," PJM said.
Duke-American Transmission Company acquired the 3,000-megawatt-capacity Zephyr Power Transmission Project, committing to use at least 2,100 MW of the transmission line's capacity to provide wind power to California and the southwestern United States from the wind-rich areas of eastern Wyoming.
The 500,000-volt line would be a direct current line that’s projected to cost about $3.5 billion. The project would help transport electricity generated from Wyoming wind farms to California, which has set a renewable target to obtain one-third of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
Rather than see building more transmission as the solution, though, Bowman sees its drawbacks as a symptom of a bigger problem: a highly centralized power system. "I'm going to predict the day of very large transmission lines to carry energy from remote areas to urban centers are about over," he said. "What I do think you'll see happen is smaller projects that are built to accommodate the existing system you have in the rural electric districts and to move that power to the cities that way. I think there will be a different model."
Wyoming is an ideal place to generate electricity from wind. But getting current from turbines to customers is a political and economic puzzle. How it plays out will have lessons for renewable-energy projects nationwide.
A proposed two-year extension of Wyoming's moratorium on wind developers' eminent domain powers passed another legislative hurdle Wednesday. By a voice vote, state senators passed House Bill 230 on first reading. If left unchanged, the legislation must pass two more Senate votes before heading to Gov. Matt Mead for his signature.
The House Minerals Committee on Monday indefinitely postponed legislation that would have imposed another one-year moratorium on non-utility companies' ability to use eminent domain when building collector lines to wind turbine sites. State lawmakers voted last year to create a one-year moratorium on the practice; that moratorium ends July 1.
The whole idea, Williams said, is to take advantage of California's demand for renewable energy: the state has mandated that 33 percent of its energy come from renewable resources by 2020. "We're not going to supply all their renewable energy, but we can supply a good portion of it," he said.
Dunn said Friday that TransCanada was turning its focus to a similar-sized transmission line called the Zephyr, which is planned to run from southeastern Wyoming to south of Las Vegas. The company successfully solicited bids from wind developers to ship 3,000 megawatts on the Zephyr line.
Gorny said BLM officials delayed the release of the document in order to address comments received during the internal administrative review process, as well as to clarify management objectives related to sage grouse and visual and other public resources.
Wyoming's ambitions to become a major exporter of electricity carry with them some negatives along with the positives. One of the negatives is the fact that more power lines are going to crisscross the state. In some cases, that will mean traversing private land whose owners don't want the lines, public land where people don't want to see them for aesthetic reasons, and habitat that sustains a variety of Wyoming's prized wildlife.
"It's absolutely ridiculous to site these lines around houses, especially around homes that people have spent their entire life savings on," Walker told Gov. Dave Freudenthal during a town meeting Thursday night in Kemmerer. ...Leaders in Wyoming's wind energy industry want to connect turbines to the power grid and to export more electrical generation out of the state.
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."