Salazar approves nation’s largest wind farm

Power Company of Wyoming, LLC on Tuesday announced U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed a record of decision authorizing the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy site in Carbon County, Wyo. south of Rawlins.

Colorado’s neighbor to the north may soon be home to the largest wind farm in the nation.

“Wyoming, we know, has some of the best wind energy resources in the entire world,” Salazar said during the announcement. “There’s no doubt that this project has the potential to be a landmark project for the U.S. and the entire world.”

The site, which encompasses approximately 2,000 acres of public and private land, will be home to 1,000 wind turbines and produce 2,500 megawatts of electricity.

Once completed the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy project will be the largest wind farm in the country.

“This is a unique site ideally suited for larger-scale, lower-impact, least-cost renewable energy development that fully aligns with federal land use goals and federal energy goals,” said Bill Miller, president and CEO of PCW, in a news release. “The Record of Decision milestone moves us closer to having bulk supplies of clean, cost-effective electricity available to serve nearly 1 million U.S. homes – and in a timeframe well ahead of the (renewable portfolio standard) targets set by California and other Western states.”

Construction on the wind farm is scheduled to begin next year and carries an estimated cost of $4 to $6 billion, according to PCW’s web site.

It is expected to generate up to 400 jobs during the first two years of construction, and up 1,200 more in subsequent seasons when crews begin turbine installation.

The wind farm will employ 114 people once it is fully operational, making it one of the largest private employers in Carbon County, the release states.