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Simpson Ridge wind farm project slowly moves forward  

Credit:  By Kate Snyder | Rawlins Daily Times | July 3, 2013 | www.rawlinstimes.com ~~

Representatives from the new company taking over the Simpson Ridge wind-farm project approved by Carbon County in 1999 introduced themselves to the Carbon County Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this week, but have not yet submitted a project proposal to the county.

Nor does Pulstream USA, the company interested in completing the project, have any buyers interested in purchasing the electricity generated from the turbines, said Sid Fox, Carbon County planning director.

Fox said there are still some questions about what state and county processes Pulstream USA will have to follow to complete the project.
The company would need a building permit because the permit issued in 1999 was a special-use permit, Fox said. And the building permit is contingent on what the project entails.

The Industrial Siting Council, a state board, approves all major energy projects in the state, but a wind farm with fewer than 30 turbines would not need a permit to begin construction.
Fox said he doesn’t know how many turbines are slated for Simpson Ridge.

“It’s pretty much in their court right now,” Fox said.

The power lines needed to transport the electricity are on Bureau of Land Management property, said Mike Kelly, attorney for the commission. The company would need a permit to upgrade the transmission lines so they are able to carry the electricity generated by the turbines.

The turbines are planned to be on 1,280 acres of private land, Kelly said.

Terra Moya Aqua Global Wind, a renewable-resource energy company, originally received a conditional-use permit from the county 14 years ago. The Simpson Ridge project never happened, but the permit issued back then is still valid.

The permit has been passed from TMA to Pulstream USA.

One of the obstacles the commission previously discussed was that Simpson Ridge, which is just east of Rawlins, is in the middle of a core sage grouse area.

Fox allowed that while he didn’t know the exact law, he knew the executive order by the governor about building in sage grouse core area included different regulations for projects on private land – where the Simpson Ridge wind farm is slated to be located.

Fox has said essentially if the permit had been granted just a few years ago, it would be nontransferrable and the project would have had to start construction within two years of obtaining the permit. In 1999, county codes were silent on those issues.

Source:  By Kate Snyder | Rawlins Daily Times | July 3, 2013 | www.rawlinstimes.com

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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