The U.S. has approved the development of two wind energy projects in Wyoming that may generate as much as 3,000 megawatts, enough electricity for almost 1 million homes.
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has approved the site for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, a 3 GW wind farm proposed for southeastern Wyoming.
The effort is part of President Barack Obama’s strategy to promote wider use of renewable energy on federal land.
The U.S. Interior Department has approved 33 utility-scale wind, solar and geothermal projects since 2009 that will total more than 10,000 megawatts of capacity.
The decision authorizes the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to proceed with site-specific environmental analysis for the Sierra Madre Wind Farm, the Chokecherry Wind Farm, the internal haul road, the internal 230 kV transmission line, the rail distribution facility and substations to connect the generated power to the electric grid.
The decision also approves amendments to the BLM’s Rawlins Resource Management Plan, identifying the project area as available for wind energy development. In July, the DOI released the project’s final environmental impact statement, and earlier this month, the Carbon County (Wyoming) Board of County Commissioners approved Power Company of Wyoming’s application for a conditional-use permit for the project.
Additional environmental reviews will be needed for the specific turbine layout. The BLM will continue to engage stakeholders as these additional reviews are carried out.
The proposed Chokecherry and Sierra Madre project would consist of two sites encompassing up to 1,000 wind turbines on approximately 219,707 acres of land. The project, to be located about 10 miles south of Rawlins in Carbon County, will be developed in phases and operated by Power Company of Wyoming.
According to the DOI, the project could generate enough electricity to power nearly 1 million homes and create an estimated 1,000 jobs.