Last Updated:September 15 @ 08:07 pm

Salazar approves massive Wyoming wind farm project

By Mead Gruver

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Tuesday authorized what he described as potentially the largest wind energy project in the United States, if not the world: A Wyoming wind farm with up to 1,000 turbines that would provide electricity to some 1 million homes.

Roadwork and groundwork could begin next year for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project. After that, turbines could go up over a three-year period within an area covering 350 square miles of the hilly sagebrush country south of Rawlins in south-central Wyoming.

Most of that area is among the 245 million acres nationwide overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management — hence Salazar's role. Salazar highlighted the project as an example of President Barack Obama's "all of the above" strategy for renewable energy development and fossil fuel extraction onBLM and other public lands.

"Our strategy is getting us within grasp of energy independence in the United States," Salazar said.

The project is one of seven renewable energy projects Interior announced in August that it would expedite for review. Others include the 100-megawatt Quartzsite concentrating solar energy plant in Arizona, the 750-megawatt McCoy photovoltaic project in California, and the 350-megawatt Silver State South solar energy generation plant in Nevada.

"These are going to be landmarks in America. They are going to be what people think about when they think about the American West. And they are going to completely change the way that we think about energy production," said Neil Kornze, acting deputy director of the BLM.

The Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind project is owned by the Power Company of Wyoming LLC, a wholly owned affiliate of Denver billionaire Phil Anschutz's The Anschutz Corp.

The project is expected to generate up to 3,000 megawatts when completed, bringing to 10,000 megawatts the amount of public-land renewable power that the Interior Department has authorized under Obama, Salazar said. That's enough energy to power more than 3 million homes.

Salazar signed a record of decision for the plan and spoke at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. The school offers technical training for jobs in wind power, and Salazar's audience in a cavernous wind energy lab included about 40 students.

The project will create an estimated 1,000 construction jobs at its peak and 114 new, permanent operations and maintenance jobs, according to the BLM.

"One reason to be here is to celebrate jobs that are coming from wind energy throughout the United States. We know there are tens of thousands of jobs now being created by wind energy," Salazar said.

Salazar's signature means the BLM now can begin site-specific environmental analysis to help plot specific layout of the project's turbines, roads and power lines.

Roadwork at the site could begin in 2013, followed by installation of some turbines in 2014, said Bill Miller, president and chief executive of Power Company of Wyoming.

The project "won't be 1,000 at once" but more like 300 to 400 wind turbines installed each year over a three-year period, he said.

"We can accelerate that to some degree, or we could slow it up to some degree, depending on what the requirements are at any given point," Miller said.

Remaining permits still needed include one from the state Industrial Siting Council. The council reviews plans for major industrial projects proposed in Wyoming.

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57 Comments

  1. agent007Comment by agent007
    October 10, 2012 @ 10:06 am

    Although I’m in favor of using wind energy next to the essential focus on fossil fuels, we need to know the costs of this wind park!
    Is this economically viable, self sufficient, energy production, or is yet another money pit that is likely to raise energy prices for those in the region?

    I’m missing the price tag in this article!

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    • Nam Vet 67-68Comment by montanajimz
      October 10, 2012 @ 10:46 am

      agent007,
      Here’s some rough figures that I researched, so do the math, and it’s probably way under estimated. By the time these projects are complete the costs are at least doubled or tripled with “extras,inflation, and oops’s”?

      The costs for a commercial scale wind turbine in 2007 ranged from $1.2 million to $2.6 million, per MW of nameplate capacity installed.

      Most of the commercial-scale turbines installed today are 2 MW in size and cost roughly $3.5 Million installed.

      Yikes!

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      October 10, 2012 @ 10:54 am

      Thanks for adding that information montanajimz!

      Also see the post by Terry Henson further down to see some rough calculations on how this is going to increase monthly utility bills!

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      Rating: 4.6/5 (14 votes cast)
    • extyrequeenComment by extyrequeen
      October 10, 2012 @ 11:43 am

      this is nothing but politics and corptution in washington….the govt. doesn’t care if it’s not cost effictive because they can just print more money….this predident is the most incompitent bufoon ever…all this alternitive energy who have already been tried if it was profitable….

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      October 10, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

      By the numbers

      1,000 wind turbines
      Approximately 2,500 megawatts
      Best winds in the country – Class 6-7
      $4B-$6B estimated cost

      As found on official Wyoming Power website!

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      October 10, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

      Experience with wind mills in the Netherlands has shown wind energy to cost between 2 and 3 times as much per kWh as more conventional energy production methods.
      I could quote you an extensive WikiPedia article, but it’s all in Dutch :)
      They have built extensive wind energy parks there, in the NorthSea especially, just off the coast. If you ever fly to Amsterdam, on a clear day, you can see hundreds of windmills right there.
      Efficiency in those areas is pretty high, given the relatively high average windspeed off shore.

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    • EuclidComment by Euclid
      October 10, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

      Yeah I’m not seeing it either…probably because Salazar is in somebody’s pocket and getting his lined. Oh wait…that’s our pockets he’s in.

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    • yoda1Comment by yoda1
      October 10, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

      There is a wind farm in the Antelope Valley that is just sitting there. Not one is turning. What a waste of Tax Payer $$$

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    • freelynComment by freelyn
      October 10, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

      Spain was bankrupted by spending heavily into “GREEN”(Communist) energy. They don’t care that solar and wind power cost 400% more than our current generation techniques. It would make more sense to build Nuclear plants but it isn’t about actually becoming energy independent. It is about making America non-competitive in the global marketplace. Look at the facts, what will it do to the United States ability to compete with Asia, Russia and anywhere else that isn’t using these expensive sources of energy?

      If that isn’t the case, Then why when we have extensive resources at our disposal are we wasting all this money on technologies that are not yet viable for mass energy production?

      This is again all about wealth redistribution. We need to get Obama and all the “Progressive Socialists” out of office. Ignore the divisive social issues and only attack on fiscal and Constitutional issues. The TEA PARTY is doing it but the GOP still seems hell bent on the Big Tent ideal.

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    • lanimom229Comment by lanimom229
      October 10, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

      In reply to freelyn

      Is there anyone out there that can see the correlation between this fiasco and bho’s signing onto UN Agenda 21?
      freelyn above came close to nailing this on the head

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    • burningmanComment by burningman
      October 11, 2012 @ 8:42 am

      I recently read an article that says the maintenance cost on these wind turbines is fairly significant. So much so that at current prices it is cheaper to generate electricity by burning natural gas than it is to operate the turbines. Consequently, you will see many wind turbines/farms idled.

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  2. prairelivingComment by praireliving
    October 10, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    They really ought to be building the wind farms in places like Washington DC where all the hot air can then be harnessed for some real good! (Sorry I just couldn’t resist!)

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    • BillzillaComment by Billzilla
      October 10, 2012 @ 10:34 am

      That’s a good one!

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    • yoda1Comment by yoda1
      October 10, 2012 @ 5:01 pm

      HOT AIR Hmmm. put a balloon over congress and the White house. Hot air goes up into the balloon and all the politicians go for a ride!
      Clean up the city and get rid of the hot air all in one shot.

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  3. Terry HensonComment by Terry Henson
    October 10, 2012 @ 10:42 am

    Turbines cost 1.5 million per megawatt, these are 3 megawatt windmills, therefor, 1000 wind mills times 4.5 mill, i am sure they will get a volume discount, lol So the cost for just the wind mills is 4.5 billion divided by one million homes. and everything says “up to”, so probably more like 800,000 homes. Thats $5625 dollars each household just for the wind mills, 114 men at 40,000 per year and other costs lets round it at a low 6 mil per year. As I see it, monthly bills are going up about $40.00 per household and our vast open land will be left with wooshing sounds as the blades of progress spin into our wallets.

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      October 10, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

      Great estimation Terry,

      The official Wyoming Power website states about $ 4-6 B total costs for the project :) I just found it.

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      October 10, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

      What they will likely do though, since this was an Obama Czar, is to spread those 4-6 BILLION dollars over all American taxpayers, so that it won’t give wind energy a bad reputation.
      They might even subsidize it so much, with OUR money, that in Wyoming their monthly bills will go DOWN!
      Look out for it, and I would love to hear a response here from anybody actually living in that Wyoming region!

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    • freelynComment by freelyn
      October 10, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

      Perfect data and I have another fact to add energy is only produced when the wind is blowing at a certain rate and the sun is shining. So what about all the off time when we don’t have wind and sunshine? These are not viable sources of energy for mass scale energy generation. We need to look to Nuclear and hydro-electric for additional electric generation and CLEAN coal too.

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      October 11, 2012 @ 8:14 am

      Have you guys also noticed how our rating (stars) are not all 5, even though most we have written here are pure facts?

      Demowit trolls apparently don’t like us to ask any critical questions regarding green energy!

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)
  4. Jackie CoxComment by Jackie Cox
    October 10, 2012 @ 11:23 am

    Its sad to watch non scientific people enact their opinions into taxpayer funded cronie projects, in wind and solar projects where economical justification has not been performed with valid data. Watching the current wind farms, with 16 copper rods that grind to a stop, because of the inability to machine bar stock to the dimensions required, as the bar stock material differs too much for the. Solar has multiple problems with the current magnitude of collectors, and their life span. Even after spending the billions, and billions on these projects wind and solar combined provide our electricity grid with less than 2 % of usable energy, costing far greater price than nuclear, In light of new nuclear reactors that use thorium based material, (more abundant than uranium) that becomes radioactive when bombarded with neutrons, It makes little sense to fill our lands with near worthless wind and solar projects that adversely affect nature, and make money for politicians and china—the criminality in the whitehouse and czars are little equipped to make viable decisions in the real energy world, where hydrogen from water compounds, with gasoline from coal, which becomes cheaper to make when oil reaches 34 $ a barrel, and the USA has more than 3 times the equivalent, of gasoline from coal than saudi arabia does using gasoline from oil, obama too stupid to spend the pennies to install polution control equipment on the older generations of coal fired power plants, trying to make wind and solar work, when its real applications are vastly fewer than his idea of proper energy, his DOE czar an academic, is not in touch with the real world, an academic with multiple Phd’s was removed from bell northern research labs back in the early 70′s because he just didn’t grasp the scale of science, and at that time was not even bilingual, so he was sent packing to southern cal, where he has languished in the academic caste system until obama, who probably can’t spell science appointed him czar of energy, where his confusion is obvious in his idea to follow obama who supports phony science gambles like the south african iron man elon musk the bankruptcy expert, draft dodger from south africa, internet philanthropist, who actually states he will put a man on mars for 300,000 dollars, while spending billions of taxpayer dollars on his multiple failures, because he is a good buddy and contributes a lot of the money he gets from the doe et al back to the obama campaign fund—obama an his entire gang of czars would have a real problem passing security tests, exposed by the continual treason coming from the oval orfice costing lives of soldiers in the field

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  5. Jackie CoxComment by Jackie Cox
    October 10, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    Obama ended NASA, putting an astronaut in charge of science, because of his skin color, he has decommissioned almost 150 deep water vessels required to keep our shore safe from invasion, defunded F-35, rising the costs causing many other nations who had placed orders to cancel, defunded the new troop carriers designed to withstand roadside bombs that have taken more than 2,000 lives in afghanistan, which many other countries were set to buy, his dismantling our arsenals necessary to protect us fro the tyrannical starving nations, is insane, or just anti american, which is more likely than not given the treasonous leaks from the white house to the enemy, leading up to incidents like seal team 6 murders, and numerous other incidents, resulting in a spike in suicides among young active duty service members who joined to serve our nation only to be sabotaged by the commander and chief.

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    • yoda1Comment by yoda1
      October 10, 2012 @ 5:09 pm

      A plant from Russia or Iran! he is doing everything to weaken us so we can never recover. If Romney Wins, Race wars. there is already videos of Blacks / African Americans sorry, “I was told by a Black man to call him Black and now I am told the other” Tearing up Romney signs in peoples front yards.
      If Obama wins, Russia or Iran will be our new Government.
      this administration has misinformed us and has us fighting among ourselves.

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  6. Jackie CoxComment by Jackie Cox
    October 10, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    dismantling our defense energy cost us millions of jobs, leaving our nation open for invasion from abroad, he should be tried for high treason along with the rest of his gang and he hanged by the neck untill dead, or skinned alive, and left to roam in the arabian desert.

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    • JDZComment by JDZ
      October 10, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

      Absolutely agree. This administration, driven by their ideology, which has a strong socialist/communist framework, is undermining our country from within and pushing the USA toward a socialist style big government structure. Once our energy industry is weakened, our national defense is weakened, our technology infrastructure (much of it in the defense industries) is weakened, our private economy becomes nationalized via government policies and regulations, our financial stability is further weakened, and you have hundreds of millions of Americans dependent on government just to survive, it will be too far gone to turn it around and it is going to get really nasty. As a country, we will have lost our preeminence in the world and ability to provide the stability in the world we have been doing for a hundred years. Our standard of living is going to go down dramatically for most Americans and only government bureaucrats and super wealthy will be able to have stability. The rest of us are not going to be happy at all.

      The only near-term opportunity to stop this from happening is to not give the Obama administration a second term to finish the job, and give the Romney/Ryan team a chance to turn around the Obama policies and save the country.

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  7. Michael WongComment by Michael Wong
    October 10, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    “Expedited seven projects” – cites one of 100MW, one of 750, one of 350, plus the main one of 3000MW. The average of the first three is 400MW, so I’ll give them credit for 2400MW for six project pus the 3000MW project, for a total of 5400MW. Since 3000MW = 1000 temporary jobs + 114 permanent jobs: the total expedited jobs is 1800 temporary jobs + 152 permanent jobs.

    Compare this to the Keystone pipeline – estimated 20000-30000 jobs and 2500 permanent jobs.

    Seems like someone’s expedited review priority is screwed up

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  8. Jackie CoxComment by Jackie Cox
    October 10, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    ha ha ha, its funny, in lieu of the upcoming ACORN 2012 election fraud, where you can vote without an ID using as many identities as the phone book has, or make up something, like arnie , or annie aids.

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  9. BillzillaComment by Billzilla
    October 10, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

    What are the chances that the windmills will be made in China or somewhere else outside of the US? Any odds on this one?

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      October 10, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

      Now that would be fun to publish if that was the case :)))

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    • CarmineComment by Carmine
      October 10, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

      Sorry, I don’t bet against a sure thing.

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    • agent007Comment by agent007
      October 31, 2012 @ 11:19 am

      Assuming that these wind turbines are GE products, they would be produced in either California or NORWAY apparently. Those seem to be the wind energy companies GE acquired over the last decade or so.

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  10. AbbycatComment by Abbycat
    October 10, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

    “These are going to be landmarks in America. They are going to be what people think about when they think about the American West.”

    Yeah right…forget about the beautiful sunsets, rugged mountains, wild horses, cowboys and the pioneering spirit that is America- lets make a field full of noisy, wildlife-killing windmills the thing to people want to see…what a jerk!

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    • Nam Vet 67-68Comment by montanajimz
      October 10, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

      Hey Abbycat,

      There’s a bunch of them in Eastern Montana as well as East of Cle Elm, WA and they are so despised by all the folks that live around them and have to deal with them daily and otherwise.UGLY is the term.

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    • verityComment by verity
      October 11, 2012 @ 8:23 am

      montanajimz…..I agree with your comment but IMHO you forgot to add that windfarms kill thousands of birds. We cannot continue to kill off nature. The whole world needs all of the critters…it’s called the balance of nature.

      I once lived on the island of Hawaii. There is a huge defunct windfarm there. Lots of money down the drain. The machines are still there though….very ugly but an excellent reminder that not all ideas that sound good are actually good.

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  11. newrepublicanComment by newrepublican
    October 10, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    OK by me as long as no tax dollars are used, electic rates do not increase (as noted above), and only if there’s no oil under that there dirt!

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  12. moparfan54Comment by Dave
    October 10, 2012 @ 3:06 pm

    Obamma and Harry Reid must have bought some property in Wyoming. I am wondering who is going to use this power, you can drive for hours and not see anybody in Wyoming.

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  13. mrwilsonComment by mrwilson
    October 10, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    Morons…There is an old expression; “a time and a place.” This White House has no clue as to either. Spend money we do not have. Spend money while our elderly cannot afford to even pay their oil heating bills this winter, and by the piss on coal too.Need I mention the price of gasoline? Yes, I just did. Little Stevie Wonder will be at the next Obama fund raiser singing” up tight and way out-of-sight….

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  14. mrwilsonComment by mrwilson
    October 10, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

    I forget to mention that Secretary Ken Salazar is also a moron.

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    • CowgirlComment by Cowgirl
      October 10, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

      More than a moron. He’s part of the Obamas socialist agenda. I’m very ashemed that he has one of my ancestors last name.

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  15. lanimom229Comment by lanimom229
    October 10, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

    Well what else do we expect from this administration! Salazar (Czar) doesn’t have the brains God gave him if he honestly believes this is going to work without costing an arm and a leg! Anschuts is one of bho’s HUGE supporters – need I say more as to who will make the big bucks from this??
    These windmills are UGLY and don’t always operate! Repair parts are near impossible to obtain. They kill birds. As Jackie stated above and a few others, will these turbines be made in America?? So when all’s said and done each turbine will cost well over 3 BILLION dollars.
    I have to wonder if the GREEN PEOPLE have done their little checks to see if there is an endangered lizard in this area? or how many American Bald Eagles will be killed by these huge blades? Just wondering.

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  16. sandman4x4Comment by sandman4x4
    October 10, 2012 @ 4:00 pm

    These “fools” in the WH have NO idea what they are doing! as far as I am concerned, Salazar should just walk around with one of those hats with a propeler on it, and have it wired to his ___.

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  17. joelsk44039Comment by joelsk44039
    October 10, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

    There are two factors in determining the cost of wind power:

    1. Cost per installed Kilowatt (or Megawatt)
    2. Capacity factor of 20% to 40%

    If the cost per Megawatt is $2.5 to $3.5 Million and the capacity factor is 40% (which is very high), the real cost per Megawatt would be $6.25 to $8.75 Million per Megawatt of actual generation capacity, which is 6.25 to 8.75 times higher than natural a natural gas or coal facility.

    In addition, with so many turbines, the cost of maintenance and repair will be extremely high. Can you imagine the maintenance staff climbing several hundred feet of tower to just inspect 1,000 turbines several times a year? And to replace a turbine or do a major repair would require a huge crane which is expensive to rent.

    And lastly, I am of the opinion that there is a significant micro-climatological effect caused by the absorption of the large amount of wind energy by so many turbines. It wouldn’t surprise me if thousands of migrating birds aren’t killed each year by the spinning blades. And is the location in Wyoming on or near the transmission grid? If not, how much additional capital will be needed to access the grid. Wyoming only has a population of 568,000. Where will the excess power to supply the other 432,000 population go?

    This is among the most poorly thought out renewable projects I’ve ever heard of.

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  18. jugchokeComment by jugchoke
    October 10, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

    Economically feasible?
    Not by a long shot! Electric rates would have to go up by well over 15 times to accomplish that!
    Not a single one of the windmills put up so far, have ever even paid for themselves!
    And it is not about to happen, even in the distant future, they don’t last that long!

    The deal is, the American taxpayer is making up the difference here! They are simply a total waste of money!
    We should NOT be funding uneconomical electric production! Research is one thing, but going into production is criminal!

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  19. varkdrvrComment by varkdrvr
    October 10, 2012 @ 5:58 pm

    “These are going to be landmarks in America. They are going to be what people think about when they think about the American West.” So where are all the Sierra Club and “pristine wilderness” lobbyists? You know, the ones that refuse to permit ANYTHING to change or show the presence of modern civilization. Hundreds of square miles of whooshing 300′ tall towers are landmarks {they definitely mark the land!), but a 1 square mile fossil-fuel power plant is absolutely unacceptable? I would laugh so hard if environmentalists start opposing these wind farm permits and drag things out for years like they do with pipelines, refineries and power plants. The only thing that tempers the hilarity is that a lot of the resulting costs will be covered by all taxpayers, not just lobbyists.

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  20. dover2Comment by dover2
    October 10, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

    Salazar is another of the many useless (but, dangerous) idiots of this administration.

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  21. gnafuComment by gnafu
    October 10, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    And, everyone who lives in Wyoming is allowed to use how much energy from the turbines? Everyone allotted the same amount of use no matter the size of home or need? How much will this cost the Federal Government(our tax dollars) and the people of Wyoming? How many birds will be killed with the turbines? How many rare birds killed? Ha. Wait until EPA gets “wind” of this one! Have the turbines been perfected to NOT explode and bring down the turbines like a row of dominos? That has been a big problem in developing and using the turbines because they were not safe and failed the tests. And, the expense to use the power from the turbines was astranomical. (Had to recoup the expense of design, development and installation) I hope the job opportunities are there but it’s like digging dirt out of a hole then putting it back in if all the workers do is install, remove, then re-install, over and over again. Remind me to never visit any State that has wind power because at this juncture, it is not safe and certainly not pretty. Maybe the wind energy will be used as in England. If you want heat, you have to put some coins in a pay machine to get your room warmed.

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  22. Bob KnowsComment by Bob Knows
    October 10, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    OMG The most massive Odumbo SCAM yet. He must really be getting desperate. These “green energy” scams are money laundering projects to funnel tax money into Odumbo’s pockets. He’s grabbing a bundle before he leaves.

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  23. Bob KnowsComment by Bob Knows
    October 10, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    Wind turbines don’t actually make enough electricity to pay for their own maintenance. They are built to scam OUR money for up-front payments, and then abandoned. There are already over 18,000 abandoned derelict turbines, and more are being built.

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  24. lanimom229Comment by lanimom229
    October 10, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

    does anyone out there see the correlation between this fiasco and bho’s signing on to UN Agenda 21?

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  25. Bill MontagneComment by Bill Montagne
    October 10, 2012 @ 11:13 pm

    They are describing a 1,000 wind turbine farm of 3 mw each advertised capacity. They can’t operate near capacity or the turbine will fail. The apx max they can operate without causing premature failure is about 11 m/s which at sea level would be roughly 1.83 mw. Factor in the density altitude of 7,000 ft on a standard day and you get about 1.5 mw. Factor in that wind farms typically figure wind for 45% of the day and zero wind the rest of the day. Factor in that these turbines typically take 21 years to amortize their cost. Cost per machine is kept secret, but it is around 6 million per 3 mw turbine. Although I know this can be done cost effectively, the typical wind turbine is a financial loser that we all pay for, by increased power cost and increased taxes. I have developed a technology that would roughly make six times the power per purchase dollar and will run in all winds above 7 mph, up to 100 mph. All others shut down where they could make the most profit. All others really shut down around 25 mph because, constant operation above that speed is more than the components can handle. That means damage costs exceed income. If Wyoming really wants jobs, these turbines could be manufactured in Wyoming for this wind farm and the rest of the world, in the most business friendly environment in the country.

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