August 8, 2014 — The State of Wyoming's Industrial Siting Council voted unanimously on August 6 to approve Power Company of Wyoming LLC's application for a permit to construct and operate the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project. With up to 1,000 wind turbines and a nameplate capacity of 3,000 megawatts, the CCSM Project will be the largest wind farm in Wyoming and one of the largest in the world.
The ISC's seven-member panel heard two days of testimony from PCW officials, expert witnesses and other interested parties at a public hearing in Saratoga, Wyoming, before deliberating and making its decision. The ISC is the ruling entity of the Wyoming Industrial Siting Division, part of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The Division has up to 45 days to formally issue the permit.
"Both the Industrial Siting Council and the Industrial Siting Division carefully reviewed and considered our application, and we appreciate their focus on ensuring that Wyoming's high standards were met across all aspects of the project," said Bill Miller, PCW president and CEO. "Receiving the permit is a significant milestone that clears the way for us in Wyoming to contribute to the state's longtime leadership in generating and delivering cost-effective energy supplies to the markets that need them. It's also the last major non-federal permit needed to move this wind energy project forward."
In accordance with Wyoming law, before approving the project permit, the Council had to determine that the proposed wind project complied with all applicable law; that the project did not pose a threat to the environment or to area inhabitants; and that PCW has the financial resources to build and to reclaim the facility. Council members not only made these findings but also noted the extensive public support for the project that they heard from multiple parties including Carbon County, its incorporated municipalities, and other local and state entities.
The CCSM Project is located within the Overland Trail Ranch in south-central Wyoming, where private land is interspersed with federal and state land in a checkerboard pattern. Because the wind project is partially sited on federal land, the Bureau of Land Management completed a project-wide Environmental Impact Statement, and a Record of Decision approving the site for wind development was signed in 2012. Two subsequent tiered Environmental Assessments addressing PCW's site-specific plans of development are anticipated to be completed by the BLM before the end of the year. The project also has received the necessary major permit from Carbon County.
When fully built, the CCSM Project will generate enough electricity to supply nearly 1 million western U.S. households. It also will create 114 operations and maintenance jobs and will pay millions of dollars in state and local taxes and federal royalties.
For more information about the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, visit www.powercompanyofwyoming.com.
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