Homes and businesses in Wyoming’s capital could be powered partly by the area’s infamous wind by late 2008.
Cheyenne’s electrical utility Tuesday announced plans for a 30 megawatt wind farm near the city landfill.
Construction on the project could begin in 2007, and production could start by fall 2008, according to a news release from Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power.
Tierra Energy of Austin, Texas, won a contract to erect 14 turbines next to the city’s Happy Jack landfill. Cheyenne Light has agreed to buy 30 megawatts of power from Tierra for the next 20 years.
Tierra defeated more than a dozen other proposals to develop cost-effective, renewable energy for the utility. Tierra claims more than 900 megawatts of wind energy development in Texas.
The Cheyenne City Council signed an agreement last year to lease city land next to the landfill for the project, said Councilman Pete Laybourn, a supporter of alternative energy.
“I think alternative energy sources are absolutely essential,” Laybourn said in a telephone interview. “Our dependence on fossil fuel has brought us to the climate change we are experiencing.”
Mayor Jack Spiker also lauded the plan in the release, saying the landfill site west of town is “an ideal location for the energy project.”
The turbines are expected to produce about 100 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power several thousand homes, said David Marks, president of Tierra Energy.
The Cheyenne area boasts one of the steadiest and strongest supplies of wind in the nation, according to the National Weather Service. The average annual wind speed is 13-14 mph, and 16-17 mph in the winter.
Cheyenne resident Mike Starks said he’s in favor of the wind farm. He might even be willing to pay more for wind energy if it reduces dependence on foreign oil.
“Anything that we can get for alternative energy is good,” Starks said.
Energy from the wind farm will help diversify Cheyenne Light’s energy portfolio and mitigate dependence on natural gas, the company said. It still intends to develop coal-fired power plants in the Powder River Basin, according to the release.
Reach capital bureau reporter Jared Miller at (307) 632-1244 or at M3jared.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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