The U.S. Bureau of Land Management office in Wyoming is accepting scoping comments until Jan. 14 for the Phase I Wind Turbine Development environmental assessment for the Chokecherry/Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project (CCSM).
The CCSM Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision amended the Rawlins Resource Management Plan to allow for wind development, but did not identify individual turbine locations. Subsequent tiered environmental assessments (EAs) are needed to analyze site-specific issues, such as the number and layout of the wind turbines, BLM said.
The first to be analyzed was an infrastructure component EA. This second EA includes analysis of the layout of about 500 turbines, associated facilities and infrastructure in the western portion of the project area referred to as the Phase I Wind Turbine Development. The initial disturbance for Phase I Wind Turbine Development would be about 3,441 acres, with long-term disturbance estimated to be roughly 435 acres. Scoping comments determine what will be covered in the EA.
The proposed CCSM project consists of two wind farm sites encompassing 1,000 turbines on more than 227,638 acres of mixed public and private land located about 10 miles south of Rawlins, Wyo., in Carbon County. It is estimated that each wind turbine would generate between 1.5 MW to 3 MW, with a total capacity of 2,000 MW to 3,000 MW. Construction would take four to five years with an estimated project life of 30 years.
In 2008, Power Co. of Wyoming LLC (PCW) applied to the Bureau for right-of-way grants to construct, operate, maintain and decommission the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project. In June 2012, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the CCSM Project was issued, and in October 2012, the Record of Decision (ROD) was signed. In the ROD, the BLM determined that more than 200,000 acres within the CCSM Project Site are suitable for wind energy development.