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Shift in wind — Has Pioneer finally tacked from headwind to tailwind?  

Credit:  Dave Robatcek | Douglas Budget | September 9, 2015 | www.douglas-budget.com ~~

Pioneer Wind Park has cleared a few more hurdles. The long-delayed wind farm planned for land about 10 miles south of Glenrock seems to be on the verge of finally being built. A public hearing in October appears to be the last remaining obstacle.

At its regular quarterly meeting on the last day of August, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Industrial Siting Council (ISC) approved several amendments and variances to the wind farm’s permit. The ISC is scheduled to meet again in Douglas Oct. 12 for a public hearing on the company’s financial capability filing.

Plans for Pioneer Wind Park were announced in 2010 by Wasatch Wind Intermountain LLC. Citizen group Northern Laramie Range Alliance (NLRA), which opposes industrial development in the mountains, almost immediately began filing legal challenges. The time and resources required to fight those challenges caused the company to miss several important deadlines and to apply for numerous permit extensions. The ISC in August 2014 gave Wasatch final deadlines of Aug. 15, 2015, to prove financial capacity and Feb. 15, 2016, to begin construction, telling the company that its permit would permanently expire if it missed them.

A flurry of activity just days before the Aug. 15 deadline to meet Special Condition #19 – to demonstrate the financial capability to build, operate and decommission the project – resulted in Wasatch Wind selling the project to Salt Lake City-based Sustainable Power Group (sPower) on Aug. 13. The next day, the CEO of sPower’s parent company FTP Power sent a letter to the Wyoming Industrial Siting Division (ISD) with detailed financial information.

On Aug. 31, the ISC considered most of the rest of the company’s unmet conditions, as well as its requests for amendments and variances.

The ISC approved the company’s request for a bond reduction from $18.76 million to $9.79 million. It also approved the company’s request to relocate the wind farm’s substation, and approved variances for facility decommissioning requirements, allowing for underground cable to remain in place.

The ISC determined that the company has met a number of special conditions, including its second-year wildlife survey, emergency management training and good-faith landowner negotiations.

The veracity of the financial information to satisfy Special Condition #19 will be considered at the October public hearing.

The public may review a copy of the financial assurance provided at the ISD in Cheyenne, or online at:

http://deq.wyoming.gov/isd/application-permits/resources/pioneer-parks-i-ii/

The hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Oct. 12 at the Douglas Inn & Convention Center Ballroom, 1450 Riverbend Drive.

Source:  Dave Robatcek | Douglas Budget | September 9, 2015 | www.douglas-budget.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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