Articles from Wyoming
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.
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.
A state board has approved a special-use lease for a $4 billion wind farm in Converse County, the latest -- and biggest -- of several wind power projects in the area. Before their vote Thursday, the State Board of Land Commissioners heard a complaint about a lack of information provided by Clipper Windpower Development Co. officials to its new neighbors. ...The total project will encompass 109,740 acres, including 7,614 acres of state land.
New Interior Secretary Ken Salazar went overboard when he said Monday 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's impractical to think that the coal-fired power industry -- which supplies about half of the nation's electricity -- could be displaced by wind turbines.
Windmills may soon dot the prairie in southern Albany County, if all goes as planned for a company that places large-scale wind farms in rural areas. Ridgeline Energy, a Washington-based company focused on utility-grade wind projects, has been studying the region for about three years and plans to begin building a wind farm in 2010, Randy Gardner, project manager, said Tuesday before the Laramie City Council.
Casperites can now turn wind into energy without the prior approval of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Through a simple building permit process, homeowners with land that meets the qualifications are now allowed to install wind turbines in their yards or building-mounted turbines on their houses. The Casper City Council approved unanimously the new ordinances for a final of three necessary votes in a recent meeting. Only Council member Paul Bertoglio expressed dissension for the ordinances in prior meetings, but did not attend this meeting.
One paragraph in the regulations states wind turbines and their towers must be at least a quarter-mile away from any primary structure such as a residence, while another says they must be a half-mile away if the primary building is in certain zoning districts. Interim county attorney Heather Duncan-Malone sees the apparent contradiction. "The language there has been ambiguous," Duncan Malone said. "So we're looking at it to see if it poses a problem."
"We are not surprised that the PSC ruled in favor of Beech Ridge. We've been expecting it. We're deciding on whether we're going to file for a motion to reconsider." Michael Rosalina with Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy says they've opposed the project since its inception in 2004. Despite a loud chorus of voices against the 119 giant wind turbines planned for 23 miles of ridge line, and against the advice of their own staff, the PSC went ahead on Friday and gave Beech Ridge the final approve to move forward with the $300 million project.
The recession may have taken the wind out of the sails of some wind energy projects around the nation, but that's not the case in Wyoming and Montana. Officials in both states say they have not heard of any wind projects being delayed. If there are projects being delayed, they say there are plenty of others still going forward. "The developers are all still exercising their best efforts to move their projects forward," Steve Ellenbecker, energy adviser to Gov. Dave Freudenthal, said.
Wyoming lawmakers have begun considering whether state or local governments - or both - should regulate wind power developments in the state. ...House Speaker Colin Simpson, R-Cody, who sponsored the joint resolution, said counties should consider regulations that anticipate the long-term effects of an expanding wind energy industry. "There will be state impacts and there will certainly be county impacts," Simpson said. He said the resolution tells counties, "We suggest you pay close attention to this."
The Albany County Commissioners tabled a proposed set of commercial wind energy regulations on Tuesday, thereby sending it back to the planning and zoning commission for more discussion. The proposed wind energy regulations were before the commissioners for a second time for approval. Nevertheless, the commissioners said there were too many conflicting viewpoints between the planning staff, the planning and zoning commission and the wind energy companies to move forward.
The Natrona County Commission on Tuesday approved the necessary measures to allow Chevron Global Power Co. to build an 11-turbine wind farm on the Texaco property near Evansville north of the North Platte River.
The Natrona County Commission is scheduled on Tuesday to approve Chevron Global Power Co.'s request for an 11-turbine wind farm on the Texaco property near Evansville north of the North Platte River. But not if Stan Mundy can help it. Mundy submitted a petition of 114 names of residents of Geary Dome and Lake Drive to the commission last week, voiced his objections at the commissioners' work session.
As Casper's infamous wind blows into town, residents can take comfort they are one step closer to being able to harness the cold gales for energy. Only, of course, if the homeowner meets the city's guidelines. ...Former mayor Paul Bertoglio, on the other hand, voted against the ordinances, saying, "These have absolutely no business in the city limits."
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.
Casper city staff members wrote ordinances on wind generation that would allow a homeowner to construct a wind turbine that fits the criteria with a simple building permit. The Casper City Council will discuss the ordinances in a public hearing tonight, welcoming comment from Casperites.
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.
This has been known to fry wind turbines. With snow, ice and frigid weather, winter creates complications for renewable energy, as I wrote last week. But for Ralph Brokaw, a Wyoming rancher with both cows and wind turbines on his land, the worst hazard is not the ice that his blades can throw off in the winter. Rather, it is lightning strikes on the towers.
The county's development department has presented suggestions to the Natrona County Commission to possibly revise a last-minute amendment to an early November resolution requiring mountain residents to obtain conditional use permits -- more complicated than regular permits -- to erect domestic wind turbines. ...But the last minute change irked mountain residents, who persuaded the county's development department to hold a public meeting to determine the support for the conditional use permits.
Rocky Mountain Power is asking landowners for their input on the route of a major transmission line proposed to run across southern Wyoming from the Casper area to the Idaho border. Representatives of the Salt Lake City-based utility told the Carbon County Commission last week that it has identified a 2-mile-wide corridor for its proposed Gateway West transmission line, which would carry 500 kilovolts of electricity.