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United States

Federal backing for 1.5GW site in Wyoming

UNITED STATES: Federal offices have awarded permits to a 1.5GW project in sourthern Wyoming, as state legislators propose a wind power purchase ban.

Wyoming currently has around 1.4GW of installed wind capcity
Wyoming currently has around 1.4GW of installed wind capcity

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) awarded the Power Company of Wyoming (PCW) permission to install 500 turbines in the first phase of a proposed 3GW project.

PCW's Chokecherry Sierra Madre project is set for a site in Carbon County, southern Wyoming. BLM must still issue a right of way grant before ground works can begin on the project.

The US' Fish and Wildlife Service has also said it would issue an eagle take permit "when final mitigation plans are provided".

However, a bill has been introduced in to the state senate that would force utilities in Wyoming to source power from projects including coal, hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear and oil.

Utilities face a $10/MWh fine if they are unable to source their electricity from one of these "eligible" technologies.

In the summer of 2016, state lawmakers also suggested increasing a tax on wind projects, unique to Wyoming, to make up for falling coal tax revenues. Currently wind producers pay $1/MWh to the state government.

PCW said once the full 3GW project had been operational for three years, it would pay $10.5 million in electricity taxes every year thereafter. This excludes property taxes.

PCW's sister company, TransWest Express is proposing a 3GW transmission line from southern Wyoming to south Nevada, to transfer renewable energy from the state to the south-west US.

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