Wind farm gets permit for 277 turbines

LARAMIE — Wyoming’s Industrial Siting Council has approved a permit for a 277-turbine wind farm that’s planned for construction on the border of Albany and Carbon counties.

The council approved the permit application Nov. 20 but is also requiring the wind farm’s developer to meet a number of conditions.

Construction is required to begin within three years, and the developer has to provide preference for local hiring, including posting jobs with the local workforce center. The permittee must provide bonding of $33.1 million for decommissioning and reclamation.

According to the project’s application, the wind project is expected to employ 400 workers during peak construction in 2022.

Construction for both projects is estimated to cost about $1 billion.

The parent company of the Two Rivers Wind and Lucky Star Wind project, Canada-based BluEarth Renewables, has said that during 19 months of construction, the project should employ an average of 144 workers, though 80 percent of those workers are expected to be “non-local.”

At an October hearing in Laramie on the project, a permitting consultant for the project, Melanie Martin, said BluEarth has not yet decided where most workers will be housed. She said workers will likely either be bused from Laramie or a man-camp will be constructed in Medicine Bow.

The Industrial Siting Council has agreed to pay $9.7 million to governments in Carbon and Albany counties to offset the impact to public services created by the wind farm’s construction.

Rock River will receive $1.6 million, Laramie will receive $662,883 and Albany County will receive $885,600. Monthly payments are scheduled to begin April 2021 and be completed in July 2023.

Rock River had requested the “impact assistance” funding to fund water, sewer, roads, emergency services, social services, equipment and general governmental operations.

Both Laramie and Albany County plan to spend their funding on emergency services and roads, with the county also planning to use funding for general governmental operations.

The Lucky Star and Two Rivers project is expected to produce up to 780 megawatts and will be located on about 100,000 acres of mostly private land.

During the October hearing, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation had protested the project. Anadarko owns mineral rights on the land where the project will be developed, and Anadarko had wanted a development agreement with BluEarth Renewables. However, Anadarko and the developer later reached an agreement and the petroleum company withdrew its objection.