Articles filed under General from Wyoming
GILLETTE, Wyo.- The slow, steady turning of thousands of wind turbines continues to pace a revolution in the U.S. domestic energy generation portfolio, or perhaps millions of small revolutions.
“Don’t it always seem to go/That you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” — Joni Mitchell/Big yellow Taxi (1970)
In a 4-1 vote, the State Board of Land Commissioners approved the Rail Tie wind project in Albany County on Thursday, January 21. This reverses the Commission's previous decision in November to not extend the lease.
The 40-year deal with ConnectGen would be part of a larger 26,000-acre development, 80% of which would be on private land. ConnectGen estimates the entire project will generate $45 million for the state and $131 million for Albany County for a total of $176 million over the life of the project. The leases themselves would bring about $21 million over 40 years, hearing attendees said.
After heated deliberation, Wyoming regulators voted to deny a renewable energy company a lease to build a wind farm on state land in Albany County on Thursday, after members of the public expressed concern the development would compromise scenic viewsheds.
Citizen's group Albany County for Smart Energy Development, spoke Monday morning in front of the Albany County Courthouse. The group presented a petition to the Albany County Board of Commissioners asking for continued review of wind regulations.
A new group called, Albany County for Smart Energy Development delivered 1,224 signatures in support of the petition urging county officials to amend wind energy development regulations. ..."Albany County's current Industrial Wind Energy Regulations do NOT adequately protect the county's natural resources, nor do they ensure the health, safety, and quality of life of the residents, businesses, and recreational users in proximity of these facilities," the petition stated. "I request the county immediately review and amend existing regulations.”
Reduced to essentials, the PacifiCorp proposal is to close its coal-fired power plants in Wyoming, replace them with wind and solar farms and build out new and upgraded transmission lines to deliver power to its customers, 85% of which are in states to the west of Wyoming. The proposed wind development alone would involve project areas encompassing roughly 500 square miles of our landscape.
A new wind project proposed for Albany County near Veduawoo has run into strong headwinds from local residents. Houston-based ConnectGen wants to put wind turbines on 26,000 acres of private and state land stretching from near the Ames Monument and Vedauwoo to an area west and south of Tie Siding.
The blades, which typically make up about 10% of a wind turbine’s total material, are made of fiberglass. Fiberglass is a tricky material that can’t be recycled or easily repurposed. And as utility companies look to replace aging wind turbines, the machines’ blades are being buried in stacks at a handful of landfills around the country, including in the Casper Regional Landfill.
A group of Albany County residents seeking a change to the county’s rules for wind energy projects plans to hold a peaceful protest rally at the county courthouse at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
Incredible photos have revealed the final resting place of massive wind turbine blades that cannot be recycled, and are instead heaped up in piles in landfills. The municipal landfill in Casper, Wyoming, is the repository of at least 870 discarded blades, and one of the few locations in the country that accepts the massive fiberglass objects.
House Bill 217 is looking at wind preventing wind turbine blades from being deposited in landfills. An amendment passed on second reading in the House on February 25, 2020. The amendment changed the year that the bill will take effect from 2020 to 2024. "I didn't oppose it. I call it a friendly amendment,” Rep. Bunky Loucks (R - HD 59) said. “I surely would like to have it not out until 2024. I can just imagine the amount of blades that the landfill is going to take in but I just want to see the bill go through."
Tens of thousands of aging blades are coming down from steel towers around the world and most have nowhere to go but landfills. In the U.S. alone, about 8,000 will be removed in each of the next four years. Europe, which has been dealing with the problem longer, has about 3,800 coming down annually through at least 2022, according to BloombergNEF. It’s going to get worse: Most were built more than a decade ago, when installations were less than a fifth of what they are now.
Wind Wyoming’s Way announced Wednesday it would spend the next year-and-a-half gathering signatures and trying to build support to increase taxes on wind energy production. The group proposes raising the current tax from $1 per megawatt hour to $5 per megawatt hour. It also would eliminate the three-year tax exemption currently in place for new wind projects.
South of Laramie, there's a road that goes straight into the plains. Over the hill, it's just open country, boulders and eventually, a tan house with a large porch facing the Rockies.
ConnectGen, a renewable energy development company based out of Houston, Texas, has started the permitting stages of constructing a 504-megawatt wind farm stretching across public and private land on both sides of the highway. The project would encompass 26,000-acres close to Tie Siding.
The future of a planned wind project between Albany and Carbon counties is now in question. The result of that could mean the loss of $5 million “impact assistance” funding that governments in Carbon and Albany counties were set to receive from the state.
One wind farm in Glenrock and two from the Saratoga area have partnered with the Casper Regional Landfill to dispose of their old wind turbine blades. More than 900 blades will be brought to the landfill beginning now until the end of next spring.
If you’re looking for examples of small government in Wyoming, towns like Medicine Bow, population 267, undoubtedly set the standard.