February 21, 2019

County to pay back some wind farm funds

By Daniel Bendtsen | Laramie Boomerang | February 20, 2019 | www.laramieboomerang.com

Albany County will likely need to return – or stop the impeding payment of – roughly $600,000 of the $3.4 million that county coffers are scheduled to receive from the Boswell Springs wind project in northwestern Albany County.

Beginning in August, the county has started receiving monthly payments from the wind farm’s owners.

Local governments can receive “impact assistance” funds from companies with major industrial projects that can increase the need for governmental resources.

To date, the county has already received $1.5 million of the scheduled $3.4 million.

However, the $3.4 million is roughly $600,000 higher than the amount of projects that Albany County has earmarked the funds for.

The need to return $600,000 has become more pressing now that technology advances in wind turbines means the Boswell Springs project has been downsized, in turn downsizing the impact assistance funding that local governments should receive.

The project originally called for 170 wind turbines to be erected on 21,569 acres. However, the project has since been reduced to 80 turbines with higher capacities.

Brian Lovett, administrator for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s industrial siting division, did not say how much impact assistance funding should be returned, but said his approach will be to recoup as much money as possible from Albany County governments before approaching Carbon County governments.

In his presentation to county commissioners Tuesday, Lovett said project permits have occasionally needed to be amended to provide for more impact assistance funding. The current situation, however, is foreign.

“The idea of reducing approved payments has never really come up before, so this is really new ground,” he said.

In total, Albany County governments were set to receive $8.4 million, with Rock River and Albany County receiving the lion’s share.

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2019/02/21/county-to-pay-back-some-wind-farm-funds/