A scaled down version of a proposed wind turbine farm north of Casper has received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) because of its proximity to the Casper/Natrona County International Airport.
The original plan was for 118 towers about 9-13 miles north of the airport. That plan has been reduced to 50 towers located west of I-25 on the Forgey Ranch.
The FAA determined there was “no hazard” to air navigation from any of the towers studied. There would be an impact on radar used to track aircraft but the FAA said this impact would not occur after new radar equipment is installed this fall. The towers would create “clutter” on the receiving radar screen. With the radar upgrades in place, the turbines would not have a significant adverse impact on operations.
The sponsor has agreed to keep the turbines from spinning until after October 15, 2017 when the new equipment should be operational.
The height of wind turbine No. 22, one of the 50 studied by the FAA, showed that the installation would be 6,158 above mean sea level and just less than 500 feet above ground level. The towers would be oriented so they all face to the southwest, to catch prevailing winds. Each tower would be lighted in accordance with FAA requirements for synchronized red lights. The FAA also requires temporary lighting on the turbines during construction once they reach 200 feet above the ground until the permanent lighting can be turned on.
The FAA’s determination noted that the 50 structures “would not have a substantial effect on existing or proposed public-use or military airports or navigational facilities,” and, “there would be not be a substantial adverse effect on…the use of navigable airspace and…would not be a hazard to air navigation…”
In June 2016 the FAA made available notices to aviation and non-aviation interests on 18 of the proposed wind turbines. Several letters objecting to the proposed towers were received. Those objections caused the project sponsors to drop all but 50 proposed wind turbines.
Project sponsors’ representatives in Utah and Oregon did not return repeated telephone calls to provide more information on the project.
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