WHEATLAND – An otherwise quiet Wyoming company rolled out early details of a planned wind farm destined to be one of the state’s largest. The public got its first chance to comment on the project near Wheatland and Chugwater on Tuesday night.
Wyoming Wind and Power, based in Cheyenne, will build a 300-turbine, 900-megawatt wind farm on private land in eastern Platte County and western Goshen County. The facility – moving forward under the name Wyoming Wind Farm – will begin first production in 2016 with full operations scheduled by December 2019.
Interested citizens filed into a conference center in Wheatland to attend a company open house Tuesday. Company officials and associated contractors used the event as an opportunity to show why Wyoming Wind Farm is suitable to the area.
“There’s just a great wind resource here,” said Ryan Fitzpatrick, company vice president of business development. “It just makes sense.”
The wind farm is split into two main parcels – Antelope Gap and Chugwater.
The Antelope Gap property is about five miles east of Wheatland and about six miles south of Guernsey. The Chugwater section is about two miles east and south of the town of Chugwater. The vast majority of the project will be in Platte County.
According to company information presented Tuesday, the sites were chosen for a litany of reasons, including contiguity of land owned by more than
75 cooperating landowners, proven wind resources in the area and access to transportation infrastructure needed to receive parts for the project’s turbines.
Power generated at the farm will be transported via the planned Wyoming-Colorado Intertie, a transmission line that runs about 180 miles from a substation at Laramie River Power Station in Wheatland to near Brush, Colo.
The line is a joint venture between the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority and LS Power and could be operable by 2017. Wyoming Wind and Power is licensed to access all 900 megawatts of the line’s capacity.
When completely built, Wyoming Wind Farm will use that transmission capacity to become one of the state’s largest projects.
No single Wyoming wind project operating in 2012 included more than 125 towers, but plans for several larger projects are in motion. The 1,000-turbine, 2,500-megawatt Chokecherry and Sierra Madre project south of Rawlins and the 2,000-megawatt Pathfinder-Zephyr project near Chugwater both could begin operations late this decade or early next.
Wyoming Wind and Power plans to file for a series of state and local applications this summer and fall and begin construction in November. About 140 workers will be needed to build the facility during normal work, with about 360 needed at peak construction.
The facility will also generate about 30 full-time positions during normal operations.
Platte County’s economic development director said the positions won’t make a huge impact, but will still benefit the county.
“I’m really excited about this,” Dan Brecht said. “I really believe that wind energy development in this part of Wyoming is a no-brainer.”
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