Article

Council says ‘yes' to Wind farm

A siting permit for a wind farm that will straddle the Albany County and Carbon County border was approved Thursday by the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council (ISC). At a hearing in the Albany County School District No. 1 Administration Building, the ISC approved a conditional-use permit for Rocky Mountain Power's High Plains and McFadden Ridge wind projects. The permit will allow Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, to build wind towers that will produce 188 megawatts of power on land about 13 miles southwest of Rock River off Wyoming Highway 13.

A siting permit for a wind farm that will straddle the Albany County and Carbon County border was approved Thursday by the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council (ISC).

At a hearing in the Albany County School District No. 1 Administration Building, the ISC approved a conditional-use permit for Rocky Mountain Power's High Plains and McFadden Ridge wind projects.

The permit will allow Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, to build wind towers that will produce 188 megawatts of power on land about 13 miles southwest of Rock River off Wyoming Highway 13.

The first phase of development will consist of the 99-megawatt High Plains wind project, and is scheduled to have a peak construction time in the spring of 2009 and to be operational by the end of that year.

The High Plains wind project will include 66 80-meter wind turbines and associated equipment.

The second phase will consist of the 88.5-megawatt McFadden Ridge wind project. This project is scheduled to have a peak construction time in the spring of 2010 and to become operational at the year.

The number of wind turbines for this project has yet to be determined.

There also is a third, undefined wind... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

A siting permit for a wind farm that will straddle the Albany County and Carbon County border was approved Thursday by the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council (ISC).

At a hearing in the Albany County School District No. 1 Administration Building, the ISC approved a conditional-use permit for Rocky Mountain Power's High Plains and McFadden Ridge wind projects.

The permit will allow Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp, to build wind towers that will produce 188 megawatts of power on land about 13 miles southwest of Rock River off Wyoming Highway 13.

The first phase of development will consist of the 99-megawatt High Plains wind project, and is scheduled to have a peak construction time in the spring of 2009 and to be operational by the end of that year.

The High Plains wind project will include 66 80-meter wind turbines and associated equipment.

The second phase will consist of the 88.5-megawatt McFadden Ridge wind project. This project is scheduled to have a peak construction time in the spring of 2010 and to become operational at the year.

The number of wind turbines for this project has yet to be determined.

There also is a third, undefined wind project that is planned for the site.

Chris Johnson, PacifiCorp's principal project manager for wind resource development and construction, said the total project area would encompass about 11,000 acres of land near McFadden.

The wind turbines will be connected to an on-site collector substation by underground strings.

From there, the collector substation would be connected via a transmission line to another Rocky Mountain wind project at Foot Creek Rim.

He said the High Plains and McFadden wind projects would create more than 260 full-time jobs during the peak construction periods and 19 permanent, full-time jobs during the operational stages.

Housing the workers during the peak construction periods would be done in Laramie, Rawlins and Rock River, Johnson said.

Transportation of materials and workers, he said, would be accomplished using Interstate 80 to the Arlington exit to Wyoming Highway 13.

Because Wyoming Highway 13 is maintained by the Carbon County Road and Bridge Department, Johnson said Rocky Mountain Power has agreed to enter into a road maintenance agreement with Carbon County.

"The maintenance of the road will largely fall on us," he said.

Solid waste - which would include various turbine parts made of wood and plastic - would be disposed of in the Laramie Landfill.

The wind turbine blades, meanwhile, are not replaced regularly. But when they have to be replaced, Johnson said Rocky Mountain Power would attempt to recycle or give away the blades before they dispose of them.

Due to a concern about stressing the Laramie Landfill with solid waste, Johnson said Rocky Mountain Power has explored the option of taking some of its solid waste to the Casper Landfill if it becomes necessary.

Under questioning from the ISC members, Johnson said the wind towers would not negatively affect the sage grouse or raptors that live in the area of the proposed projects.

For more information about the Rocky Mountain Power High Plains and McFadden wind projects, visit http://www.pacificorp.com

Laramie's concerns

The city of Laramie was one of five entities that expressed its concerns with the Rock Mountain Power wind projects.

Laramie City Attorney David Clark said the city staff supports the wind projects despite several concerns.

"We believe that it's a good project for the county, for the city, for the state," he said.

Clark then presided over the testimony of City Manager Janine Jordan, Laramie Police Interim Chief Dale Stalder, Laramie Fire Chief Randy Vickers and Public Works Director Richard Elliott.

Jordan said the Rocky Mountain wind projects would not greatly affect Laramie themselves.

However, she did say they would affect Laramie when added to the other wind and coal-to-liquids projects that have been planned in southeastern Wyoming.

"In general, the city of Laramie is very supportive of this project," Jordan said. "However, the concern that I have is a potential overlapping with other projects, specifically the coal-to-liquids plant being constructed in the next few years for which we are in the impact area.

"My concern is that the overlapping of these projects may create synergistic effects," she added.

The Laramie city departments that would be affected the most would be police, fire and public works, Jordan said.

In terms of the Public Works Department, Elliott said the Laramie Landfill is nearing the end of the life cycle for the current dumping areas. Accepting the solid waste from the High Plains and McFadden wind projects, therefore, would speed up that process.

"We're currently approaching the maximum for our phase-one landfill project," he said.

The Rocky Mountain Power wind projects would add 15-25 cubic-yards of solid waste to the 2,000 cubic-yards the Laramie Landfill accepts each week.

Nevertheless, Elliott said the Laramie Landfill could handle the extra solid waste for the 18-to-20-month construction period.

"We can handle those volumes," he said, "with the caveat ... that any waste we receive from the project reduces the waste that we can receive from what has been, historically, our residential population."

During his testimony, Vickers said the subdivision within the Laramie Fire Department that would be affected the most by the proposed wind projects would be its ambulance service.

"I do see some incremental impacts," he said.

Nonetheless, Vickers said the Laramie Fire Department would handle the extra work if necessary.

In response to a question from Laramie resident John Evans, Vickers said he was not concerned about the wind turbines causing grass fires due to electrical malfunctions.

"It's not a particular concern," he said. "Most of our grass fires are lightning-caused."

The final Laramie official to testify, Stalder said the proposed wind projects could potentially impact the Laramie Police Department similar to how the construction of a natural gas pipeline two years ago brought workers into Laramie for a short period of time.

"The impacts that we saw on the public safety side ranged across the board," Stalder said. "They weren't dramatic and they weren't always completely tangible."

He said the Laramie Police Department would be able to handle any increases in public safety needs.

While he said he was confident in the Laramie Police Department's ability to weather the impact from the Rocky Mountain Power wind projects, Stalder echoed Jordan's concerns when he said he was mindful about the accumulation of the various projects that are planned for southeastern Wyoming.

He said, "With each new project comes additional obligations."


Source: http://www.laramieboomerang...

SEP 12 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/17051-council-says-yes-to-wind-farm
back to top