Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project
South-central Wyoming has the best, highest-capacity wind resources in the United States. The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project is a proposed 1,000-turbine wind farm to be located in Carbon County. With the potential to generate up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity, the project will supply cost-effective renewable energy to help meet the electrical demand from Desert Southwest states with Renewable Portfolio Standards. At the same time, the wind power plant will generate hundreds of good jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for Carbon County and Wyoming. The latest update (April 2015) is as follows:
- Location: New 1,000-turbine wind power project to be situated on the 320,000-acre Overland Trail Cattle Company ranch, starting about 4 miles south of Rawlins and extending southward. However, total long-term surface disturbance is estimated to be less than 2,000 acres since wind turbines have an efficient footprint. Also planned are an operations and maintenance facility and a rail facility/delivery staging area in the vicinity of Sinclair.
- Capacity:3,000 megawatts constructed in two 1,500 MW phases
- Projected employment: Once completed, at least 114 permanent operations and maintenance positions. The number of construction jobs is estimated to range each season dependingon the different construction activities under way. Up to 300-400 jobs are anticipated in the first two construction years with up to 945 jobs at peak in subsequent seasons.
- Cost/investment: $5 billion
- Developer: Power Company of Wyoming LLC, an affiliate of The Anschutz Corporation.
- Right-of-way and permitting status: The proposed project is in Wyoming’s checkerboard and spans a combination of federal land and private land. The BLM Rawlins Field Office is the lead agency for NEPA compliance and prepared an Environmental Impact Statement for the project site..
- The BLM published its Draft EIS on July 22, 2011; Final EIS on July 2, 2012 and Record of Decision on October 16,2012, which authorized BLM to proceed with site-specific environmental analysis. BLM commenced this analysis for Phase 1 of the project 2013, anticipated to be completed in 2015. Details can be found on the BLM website.
- In November 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management named the CCSM Wind Energy Project among its 2012 “Renewable Energy Priority Projects.”
- In August 2012, the White House named the CCSM Wind Energy Project among seven nationally and regionally significant solar and wind energy projects.”
- August, 2014 – Wyoming Industrial Siting Council approves state permit for the CCSM Project.
- Wind monitoring and testing, engineering design, variety of environmental and wildlife monitoring programs continuing.
- Estimated construction start date: Construction may not begin until all necessary federal, state and county permits and rights-of-way have been secured; initial construction activities are anticipated to begin in 2016.
- Estimated project timeline: Access roads, infrastructure and wind turbines will be constructed in two phases over an approximately 8-year time frame; timeline will continue to be updated as the project evolves.
- Project website