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Wind Wire: Seeking solutions

US oil giant Chevron is finally moving forward with its first US wind farm development.

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The second-largest integrated energy company in the US began construction this summer on its16.5 MW Casper Wind project, near Evansville, Wyoming. Project completion, with 11 GE turbines online, is due by the end of the year to satisfy a power purchase agreement with Pacific Power. The windy site, an abandoned Texaco oil refinery that was decommissioned in 1982, has become a sore spot with nearby landowners, who wanted the land to go undeveloped indefinitely. "I don't think that the neighbours have a lot of problems with wind energy," says Monte McKillip, a Chevron spokesman. "I think it's that they just didn't want anything like that near their property." The main complaints were about setback regulations that were considered inadequate, along with worries about decommissioning the turbines 30 years on. Chevron has sought solutions through more than a dozen public meetings in recent years. "There's a residential neighbourhood that borders the property on the south and east sides," McKillip says. "I can sympathise ... But they built their houses next to property that was zoned for industrial use and, after the fact, they wanted Chevron to not ever be able to use that property again for anything else." McKillip says Chevron is likely to take a wait-and-see approach before diving headlong into any more wind projects.


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