In an attempt to gauge community input, Chevron Global Power Company held four meetings about a proposed wind turbine project on 880 acres of land in Evansville.
“One thing that we’ve already seen here in Casper is that community involvement early is necessary and beneficial,” said Bill Reese, project manager for the Evansville wind turbines.
“We go out and look at social, cultural, environmental and community issues and how this type of project might affect each one of those,” said Bob Conlon of Chevron Environmental Management Company. “We have this internal obligation to garner from the local community what your thoughts are on a development like this.”
Set to operate north of the Platte River on the old Texaco Refinery, land that Chevron already owns, the project will include 13 turbines and produce nearly 20 megawatts of power per year.
According to a conceptual layout, turbines will be scattered throughout the northern part of the property, spaced far enough apart that there will be no effect on migratory bird or bat populations.
Before going ahead with the project, Chevron worked with meteorologists to measure wind speeds and wind duration on the proposed property. According to Reese, the property, luckily for the company, was viable.
“Chevron power is not really in the business of going out and just building a wind farm because they think it’s a great idea to do any place in the world,” he said. “We only look to increase the value of Chevron by putting power assets like this at existing Chevron facilities (like the Texaco refinery).
The project is still in its early stages. So far, no funding from Chevron has been approved and no building permits from Natrona County have been issued.
But Reese is certain the wind turbines will be built, with support from the community and the company.
“We realize that this (wind energy) is going to be part of the energy mix in the future, so we’re investigating ways that we can participate in that energy space,” he said.
Wyoming ranks seventh in the nation for wind energy potential, with one UW professor estimating 85,000 megawatts of possible wind power each year in the state.
Currently, wind power produces only about 1 percent of U.S. electricity, but by 2020, an estimate 5 percent will be provided by wind.
More information on the project will be available in the last quarter of the year, when Reese suggested more community input meetings could be held.
7 April 2008
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