Transmission Lines Complete: Wyoming Ready for Massive Wind Development: Wyofile

Here’s another one from Wyofile; we’ve talked about the Sierra Madre Chokecherry build-out before.  Two things I’ve noticed from attending public meetings on powerlines here in Colorado.  First, no one talks about how many new wind farms are expected in acres.  That’s possibly because they don’t know, the way it works is that once the powerlines are there, companies will then develop windfarms.

A person might wonder how that might fit with goals, say of some large  foundations and others to “protect” 50% of the western US.  Also the 30 by 30 effort of the Biden Admin and others.

Another topic raised by affected communities in Colorado is “why do we need to incur environmental damage so that other states have “cleaner” electricity?  Or in Colorado, if it’s not for our own use, but for Denver?  Is that just another example of the Interior West resources being used for urban areas?

And finally our friends at CBD and others are concerned about critters who mostly care about disturbed habitat and getting killed by blades (I’m thinking that ultimately there will be a tech solution to that one); it doesn’t matter to those critters if it’s an oil and gas road or a windfarm road. So it will be interesting for us to watch how all this plays out over time.

The added transmission capacity and increased number of “on-ramps” and “off-ramps” that the transmission lines would provide to Wyoming and the western grid set the stage for a major buildout of wind turbines in the state. When completed, that extra capacity and interconnectivity would also provide PacifiCorp — and possibly others — the ability to retire coal-fired power units in the state by meeting several new state-level power delivery and reliability requirements, according to University of Wyoming energy economist Rob Godby.

PacifiCorp’s Gateway South transmission line is part of the utility’s larger Energy Gateway Transmission project. (PacifiCorp)

“When you have a more flexible system, it’s just less likely that you need coal,” Godby said. “You can rely on a more flexible set of generation alternatives, and that old fossil fuel backbone [coal-fired power] is less relevant.”

Adding interstate transmission capacity — and therefore boosting the ability to move power in and out of Wyoming as needed — is integral to PacifiCorp’s plans to meet the state’s reliability standards, according to PacifiCorp spokesperson David Eskelsen.

“The Gateway South and Segment D.1 transmission projects were modeled in the 2021 [integrated resource plan] as key to system reliability as the energy transition is expected to continue,” Eskelsen told WyoFile.

1 thought on “Transmission Lines Complete: Wyoming Ready for Massive Wind Development: Wyofile”

  1. “Is that just another example of the Interior West resources being used for urban areas?” Are you saying that’s a problem, or that there is another way of doing this? Distributed energy generation would be better, but forest and ag land and minerals are where they are. And energy is used in urban areas to produce things that rural people consume.


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