Wyoming-California Power Line Construction Begins
Wyoming and federal officials have formally kicked off construction on a massive transmission line project to export wind power from Wyoming to southern California.
RAWLINS, Wyo. (AP) – Portrait photographer Anne Brande captures graduation and wedding photos in scenic locations throughout southeastern Wyoming’s granite mountains and sagebrush valleys, but worries about the future. Wind energy booms here.
The dandelions in Brande’s yard, when there are four or five, are not a problem. In the event that my entire yard is covered with dandelions, I am not overly excited.
With wind turbines erected in a state where hunting, fishing, and camping in gorgeous and unspoiled nature are a part of everyday life, concerns have grown about spoiled views, killed eagles, and disturbed big-game animals like elk and mule deer.
Construction of Wind Power Will Be Officially Opened By State And Federal Officials
In southern California, a place legally mandated to switch to clean energy, a transmission line will be built to carry electricity from the 3,000 megawatt, 600 turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farms. There will be a large wind farm for the first time.
The Federal Communications Commission approved Trans West in April. It is believed that Construction of Wind Power will be essential to achieving a carbon-neutral world by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.
As a result of these developments, developers estimate that between 7 and 11 million tons of carbon dioxide will be prevented each year and that enough carbon-free electricity will be generated to power 1 million homes.
Wyoming, however, has expressed more skepticism about Construction of Wind Power than it did 17 years ago, despite extensive wildlife studies and a lengthy federal environmental review. “There is just too much of the same thing,” Brande stated.
Similarly to other states, opposition to Construction of Wind Power correlates with the proximity to homes and cabins: Chokecherry and Sierra Madre are massive but isolated, and have generated less opposition than others.
The town of Brande and rural property owners oppose a 500 megawatt wind farm with 120 turbines that will be constructed near the Colorado state line in the near future. However, the matter was appealed to Wyoming’s Supreme Court, where they lost.
There were five hours of public hearings in a packed courtroom in Laramie during the contentious county approval process in 2021. In addition to turbine blades killing birds, residents expressed concerns regarding construction blasting that damaged the foundations of their homes.
Carbon County’s county commission held off permitting for a 280-megawatt, 79-turbine project called Two Rivers on June 6, after hearing concerns. Developers were instructed to obtain federal approval by the commissioners.
The opposition to a wind farm is a recent development in an area that previously welcomed economic benefits with little question, according to Carbon County Commission Vice Chairman Sue Jones.
In 2021, Carbon County adopted an official seal featuring a wind turbine, a nod to its coal reserves that once fueled steam engines.
In response to public complaints, county officials recently ordered wind farms to turn off their red warning lights except when aircraft are approaching.
Retroactive application of the regulation was not permitted. However, PacifiCorp, which serves customers in Wyoming, Utah, and the Pacific Northwest, retrofitted the Construction of Wind Power with the on-and-off pilot warning system anyway, Jones said.
Jones stated that the companies strive to be considerate neighbours. Nevertheless, the effects are beginning to show and it is reaching a point where it is becoming overwhelming. It has a detrimental effect on wildlife habitats. There is a problem with birds and bats.”
Since 2020, Wyoming’s wind generation capacity has doubled, with about 600 turbines being added – primarily in the southeast. It is based on data provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farms alone will more than double that amount, and the University of Wyoming estimates that five more wind farms will be built in 2022.
Wyoming could soon move from 14th to among the top five states for wind energy if all goes according to plan. There is, however, a boom in wind energy elsewhere as well.
Construction of Wind Power : Energy Information Administration
About 60% of Wyoming’s electricity, including wind power, isn’t used here, but is sent to other states, according to the Energy Information Administration.
California, Arizona, and Pacific Northwest utilities want more wind energy from the state.
Trans West Express will transport Chokecherry and Sierra Madre energy 732 miles (1,178 kilo meters) through south-central Wyoming to a few miles outside Las Vegas. It will cross northern Colorado and Utah, converting to alternating current in central Utah.
The Anschutz Corporation, controlled by Denver natural gas and oil tycoon Phil Anschutz, will launch its wind farm with transmission lines in late 2027.
The transmission line’s direct-current section transfers electricity efficiently without connecting to other power lines, whereas the current-alternating segment links to the grid but is less efficient.
Wyoming’s year-round wind averages 13 mph (21 kph), matching daytime solar generated elsewhere. Wyoming Construction of Wind Power has few routes to reach the nation’s western power grid. Roxane Perruso, Trans West Express executive VP and COO, said this.
“So we’re aiming to improve the ability to transport renewables and other power—carbon-free power in the future—around the grid,” Perruso said.
Pacificorp’s Gateway North transmission lines will connect Cheyenne wind farms to southern Utah next year, paralleling TransWest Express. Pacificorp’s Gateway West lines, partially built over southern Wyoming, will reach the Pacific Northwest by 2030.
Wind Power Benefits The Climate
Environmentalists disagree on its wildlife impacts. Wyoming wind turbines imperil golden eagles and sage grouse. Erik Molvar, executive director of the Southwestern Watersheds Project in Laramie, said this chicken-sized, ground-dwelling bird avoids towering structures where predatory birds can perch.“
The real answer is to incentivize solar panel siting in urban areas where electricity is actually beginning to get used,” Molvar added.
Power Company of Wyoming, an Anschutz company developing Chokecherry and Sierra Madre, spent years collaborating with federal agencies to reduce sage grouse and golden eagle harm.
To reduce bird collisions, turbines were moved. However, wind farm eagle killings frequently go unpunished. Wyoming, the nation’s leading coal producer and oil and gas producer has had a tense relationship with wind.
Laramie is the only state to tax wind energy at $1 per megawatt-hour, which politicians have considered boosting to $4.
Local resistance may grow. Jones, who is the Carbon County commissioner, said people don’t realise what a wind farm with turbines, lights, roads, electricity lines, and California substations looks like.“Until you experience it, you don’t know. Wow, then. Industrial area. “An industrial area, but a different industry,” Jones added.