RAWLINS – Citing issues with interconnectivity and BLM permitting, the Carbon County Commission on Tuesday found Conditional Use Permit applications submitted on behalf of Two Rivers and Lucky Star wind farms incomplete.
Despite completing the permitting process earlier this year in Albany County, BluEarth Renewables, a Canada-based power producer heading both projects, has yet to submit a permitting application with the Bureau of Land Management.
The BLM owns parcels of property underneath the proposed routes, which, combined, is set to erect up to 277 wind turbines near Medicine Bow and across into Albany County.
The combined total price tag for these projects nears $1 billion. In Carbon County, Two Rivers is set to encompass approximately 15,881 acres, while Lucky Star will cover 15,802 acres.
Commissioner Sue Jones said she does have a problem with the county potentially “being this far ahead” of the BLM when an agreement has yet to be finalized.
Meanwhile, commissioners also voiced concerns over interconnectivity deals, worried that the wattages of each project may turn out to be incompatible with the proposed substations they intend on connecting through.
For Two Rivers, which is set produce 280 MW, will connect through the Freezeout Substation, which is in the works with PacifiCorp’s GatewayWest Transmission Line project.
Lucky Star, which is set to produce 500 MW, will connect through the Aeolis Substation, which is also a component of PacifiCorp’s 191.4-mile-long project.
According to BluEarth representatives, however, they have no reason to believe they’ll encounter road blocks with PacifiCorp related to Large Generator Interconnection agreements with the Warren Buffett-backed company.
“Today, we don’t see any concerns relative to where we are planning on interconnecting,” Daryl Sheerer, BlueEarth project developer, said. “We have a transmission route that we believe is feasible.”
BlueEarth representatives also said that an interconnectivity agreement has already been finalized with PacifiCorp regarding Two Rivers, which is set to be operational by 2022. The Canadian developer has yet, however, to cement a deal for their proposed Lucky Start project, which is intended to be initiated by 2023.
In addition, commissioners worried that if BluEarth doesn’t qualify for a U.S wind tax incentive, which was extended until 2023, that lack of viability will deter construction. This means they don’t want to approve any projects if every other energy producer in Carbon County had to play by the rules.
“(We’re) not giving CUPs to spectators,” Commissioner John Espy said. “I want to see more ducks in a row to be more comfortable.”
According to BluEarth, they intend on submitting applications with BLM later this month, while they look to finalize an interconnectivity agreement regarding the Lucky Star Project.
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