Company pitches wind farm

July 3, 2008 3:39:06 PM PDT
A Texas-based wind energy company is making plans for the construction of a wind farm in eastern Carbon County. Project manager Nate Sandvig of Horizon Wind Energy presented plans for the project this week to the Carbon County Commission and the Carbon County Planning Commission. He said meteorological towers were being installed in the area to gather data that will be needed to get financing for the proposed project.

"We really don't need a met tower to figure out how windy it is here," Sandvig said as he showed a photo of a semitrailer overturned on Interstate 80.

The new wind farm would be located in the Simpson Ridge area south of Medicine Bow, near PacifiCorp's Arlington wind farm. Energy produced at the site would be shipped to California and other parts of the Pacific coast, Sandvig said.

Sandvig said if the project is approved, it would be built in phases and could ultimately be capable of producing 500 megawatts of power. He said he didn't expect construction to begin for a few years, but that the whole project could potentially be completed by 2014.

Sandvig said the project is partly dependent on PacifiCorp's upgrades to its transmission lines in the area, including Gateway West. Rocky Mountain Power, a PacifiCorp subsidiary, has proposed Gateway West, a 500 kilovolt power line that would run from about Glenrock to western Idaho.

Along with required construction permits, county commissioners asked Horizon Wind to provide a decommissioning plan for tower removal and land reclamation. The commissioners also said Horizon would be required to handle solid waste disposal.

"We don't want big chunks of concrete sticking up out there" when the turbines are removed, Commissioner Jerry Paxton said.

Sandvig said Horizon Wind, which is based in Houston, has seven wind projects operating in Texas, Colorado, New York, Illinois, Minnesota and Oregon.

He said the Carbon County site would probably use 2- or 3-megawatt turbines, some of the largest available.

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