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Wasatch seeks another change to its ISC permit

Wasatch Wind Intermountain, LLC, whose proposed wind farms south of Glenrock have been delayed for a variety of reasons, including numerous legal challenges to its plans, has sent a request for a site plan change to the Wyoming Industrial Siting Division.

The company has asked for time on the agenda of the next Industrial Siting Council meeting to be held Dec. 18 in Saratoga.

The company last May had requested from the agency a 10-month extension of the original July 18, 2013, deadline to meet Special Condition #19 of its permit requiring the company to provide evidence of sufficient financial resources to construct, maintain, operate, decommission and reclaim the facility. The company cited as a reason for the extension a 17-month delay caused by legal challenges to its permit. Those challenges went all the way to the Wyoming Supreme Court, which ruled in the company’s favor.

The ISC approved the extension request at its June meeting in Cheyenne, setting a new deadline of May 18, 2014.

Edison Mission Energy, the company that Wasatch Wind originally had put forward to the ISC as the source of financing for its project, filed for bankruptcy protection last December, necessitating the extension request.

The company’s latest amendment request asks for permission to change the approved locations of the wind turbines, collector lines and substations on the property located about 10 miles south of Glenrock.

In a letter to Industrial Siting Division Administrator Luke Esch dated Oct. 22, Wasatch Wind President Christine Mikell states, “… Wasatch Wind will demonstrate that good cause exists for the amendment of the permit to reduce environmental impacts. The requested amendment is in compliance with local ordinances and applicable land use plans and will not significantly add to adverse environmental, social and economic impact in the impacted area.”

In requesting the financing extension last May, Mikell told state officials that the company had spent 48 months and $7.8 million on the proposed project, and that the company is committed to bringing the project to fruition.

The company’s Pioneer Wind Park I and Pioneer Wind Park II wind farms, each containing 31 wind turbines capable of generating 50 megawatts of power, are planned for land in the Boxelder/Mormon Canyon area of the Laramie Range south of Glenrock.

The company received approval for its county wind permit in May 2011, and the following month, received a conditional permit for the project from the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council on a narrow 4-3 vote.

The ISC gave its final approval for construction on July 21, 2011, with numerous conditions attached.

Citizen group Northern Laramie Range Alliance and its Northern Laramie Range Foundation challenged the issuance of those permits on several grounds, with the case finally being heard by the Wyoming Supreme Court, which last December ruled in Wasatch Wind’s favor.

The resulting construction delays caused the company to miss the deadlines for delivering power under the two power purchase agreements (PPA) it had negotiated with Rocky Mountain Power.

Presumably, in addition to lining up financing for the projects, the company has been working to negotiate new PPAs.

Company representatives did not return calls seeking comment.