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Utility plans more turbines  

For the second time in less than a month, Rocky Mountain Power has announced a new wind farm in Wyoming.

The Seven Mile Hill wind energy project in eastern Carbon County will consist of 66 wind turbines with a total generating capacity of 99 megawatts of electricity. Rocky Mountain Power will hold a public open house at 7 p.m. today at The Depot in Rawlins to discuss the project.

“This facility is part of a comprehensive strategy to achieve a more balanced mix of resources used to generate electricity,” Rocky Mountain Power President Richard Walje said in prepared statement.

On July 3, the company filed its plans to build the Glenrock Wind Project, which is also a 66-turbine facility with a capacity of 99 megawatts. That facility, if approved, will be located about 12 miles north of Glenrock. A portion of the wind turbine network would be on reclaimed land from the old Dave Johnston coal mine.

The location of the proposed Seven Mile Hill project is close to the intersection of U.S. Highway 287 and State Highway 487 near Medicine Bow, close to existing wind turbines.

“The site was selected, in part, because of favorable wind conditions and because of proximity to existing transmission,” said Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Jeff Hymas.

Rocky Mountain Power plans to add at least 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy to its system by 2013. A megawatt is enough to power about 300 homes.

Hymas said the Glenrock and Seven Mile Hill projects represent a size and scale that can be added into the current system.

“More wind projects will be announced moving forward,” Hymas said.

The seed of the Seven Mile Hill project came from a local wind developer, Elk Mountain Wind LLC, and the wind energy development arm of Tokyo Electric Power Co. Elk Mountain owner Bruce Morley said the project was a perfect fit for Rocky Mountain Power because it has been a believer in wind energy since the 1990s when its parent company, PacifiCorp, took on the first wind energy project in Wyoming – Foote Creek.

“PacifiCorp’s commitment to more wind power is further evidence that Wyoming is the Saudi Arabia of wind energy,” Morley said. “This is another early step toward Wyoming’s full potential of tens of thousands of megawatts of wind power.”

Morley attributes recent investments in Wyoming wind energy to the work of the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority, which has done research to identify partnerships to match new electrical generation with new transmission capacity to customers.

To that end, PacifiCorp responded with a commitment to a historic $4 billion investment in electrical transmission across the West.

Construction of some 1,200 miles of 500-kilovolt transmission lines will connect Wyoming to PacifiCorp’s electrical customers in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and beyond, according to Rocky Mountain Power. The two lines are set for completion in 2014.

In that time, Wyoming is expected to host a significant portion the some 4,000 megawatts of new electrical generation that the lines will enable. The mix of renewable source generation to coal-based generation is expected to be about 50/50, according to the company.

By Dustin Bleizeffer
Star-Tribune energy reporter

Jackwon Hole Star-Tribune

31 July 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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