ROCK SPRINGS – Wyoming’s Industrial Siting Council approved a bonding amendment Friday for the Chokecherry Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project to allow the company to divide payments to coincide with different phases of construction.
Power Company of Wyoming LLC Vice President of Land and Environmental Affairs Garry Miller said he is pleased with the decision.
The council approved the decision 5-0 with Jim Miller, Pete Brandjord, Ken Lanita, Jeff Wallace and Dusty Spomer voting in its favor. Board member Karl Anderson was absent.
The group reviews socioeconomic and environmental impacts of industrial facilities or projects before issuing a permit for construction.
The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project is located south of Rawlins in Carbon County on Overland Trail Cattle Company property and Bureau of Land Management public land. It is expected to produce 1,000 wind turbines with the capacity to generate up to 3,000 megawatts of energy. The project is also expected to bring in $780.5 million in taxes during construction and over 20 years of operation, according to the company.
The amendment allows Power Company of Wyoming to:
Bond for the installation of the first 500 wind turbines in two phases of $29.566 million and $35.786 million instead of all at once for a total of $65.352 million.
Separately bond the construction of the haul road and facilities and installation of the final 500 wind turbines.
Work on haul roads would be bonded at $6.77 million, while the wind turbines bonding would be split into $24.22 million and $29.903 million segments.
The BLM has yet to approve these phases, and the amendment means the company wouldn’t have to post bond at least a year in advance before the construction starts.
The bonding total, which is based on decommissioning and reclamation costs, will remain at $146.918 million.
The installation of the first 500 turbines is expected to be finished around 2020. The company said the second phase consisting of finishing the haul road and installing the last wind turbines could begin in 2021 and be finished in 2023 if it gets BLM approval. Miller said the company and the BLM are “just starting the conversation” about the final phases of the project.
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