Wind Turbines

Dan Boyce / Inside Energy

  

The wind industry is clearly growing. A new report from the American Wind Energy Association touts a record total of 88,000 jobs across the industry at the start of 2016, a 20-percent jump from a year ago. More wind power was added than any other U.S. electricity source in 2015, beating out natural gas and solar.

Leigh Paterson

A new analysis by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind project would kill 10 to 14 golden eagles a year, if built. The proposed project south of Rawlins would be the largest onshore wind farm in North America, sending power to up to a million homes in California. 

Leigh Paterson

A massive wind energy project that will spread from Rawlins to Saratoga received another positive assessment from the Bureau of Land Management Wednesday. 

The Chokecherry Sierra-Madre wind farm is the nation’s largest wind project. It’s expected to power up to a million homes. The BLM says the goal is to mitigate potential impacts and ensure that species needs are met along with along with renewable energy goals. BLM spokesman Dan Purdy adds that it should have a major economic impact.

Tom Koerner

A first-of-its-kind study shows that wind farms do have a slight effect on the nesting and chick raising of female sage grouse. The six-year study was recently completed by Western Ecosystem Technology (WEST), a research firm in Laramie. Biologist Chad LeBeau says that the wind turbines didn’t effect where female sage grouse chose to build nests, but once chicks hatched, they did tend to move farther away from them.

Stephanie Joyce

Wind power is a growing part of the energy mix in the United States. And along with that growth, there are new job opportunities for people to install and repair the 30-story-tall wind turbines. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, a unique skill set is required -- the fearlessness of a pro rock climber along with the know-how of a skilled mechanic.

Leigh Paterson

Four companies, including Wyoming-based Pathfinder Wind Energy, announced an eight billion dollar project this week that would eventually send Wyoming wind power to California. If built, the wind farm would be one of the largest in the country. 

Leigh Paterson

Wyoming has some of the most powerful wind in the country. So, earlier this month, a massive wind farm got the green light from the state. If the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project gets federal approval, it will become the largest in the country. But who’s buying all that wind power? Right now there is no way to get it out of Wyoming, to the other states that really need it. For Inside Energy, Leigh Paterson reports on why transmission gridlocks are keeping Wyoming wind at bay.

Over the objections of environmental groups, the federal government agreed Friday to issue eagle-take permits to wind companies for 30 years, instead of five. The permits allow companies to kill a certain number of eagles without penalty, while requiring additional mitigation and conservation measures.

Industry lobbied for the change, saying that the short permits left too much uncertainty when planning major projects.

The Department of Energy says that Wyoming is 14th in the nation based on the amount of wind it can turn into electricity. But the state did not add any new wind projects last year. The DOE’s Jose Zayas says there are several possible reasons.

“You do need to have access to large-scale transmission lines to move power out,” Zayas said. He added that Wyoming also does not consume as much electricity as other states.

mywindpowersystem.com

Researchers at the University of Wyoming are trying to figure out how wind turbines affect antelope and elk. They’ve collared dozens of animals near the town of Medicine Bow and are tracking their movements over the course of several years.

Jeff Beck, who teaches ecosystem science and management, is overseeing the study. He says pronghorn tend to stay away from certain man-made structures … but wind farms are a relatively new phenomenon.