Wasatch Wind seeks permit extension for proposed Glenrock wind farm

2014-06-01T20:00:00Z 2014-07-14T18:19:25Z Wasatch Wind seeks permit extension for proposed Glenrock wind farmBy BENJAMIN STORROW Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online

The Utah-based wind developer behind a controversial wind farm near Glenrock is requesting an extension of its state permit. 

Wasatch Wind faced a May 18 deadline to demonstrate that it has the financial ability to build the 46-turbine Pioneer Wind Park. The Park City, Utah, company was given until July to break ground on the project. 

But in a May 20 letter to the state Industrial Siting Council, the company argued that consistent legal challenges from opponents had hindered the project's ability to meet the state-imposed deadlines.

Wasatch requested that the financial deadline be extended to April 2015 and the work deadline be pushed back to August 2015. 

The Industrial Siting Council has yet to rule on the request. 

The Northern Laramie Range Alliance, a landowners group, has challenged the project. It has made its case to the Wyoming Supreme Court, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Wasatch Wind prevailed in each instance. The legal proceedings caused Wasatch's initial power purchase agreement with Rocky Mountain Power to lapse. The two parties signed a second agreement in April after a year of contentious negotiations. 

The agreement is evidence that Wasatch has the financial ability to complete the project, Wasatch CEO Christine Mikell wrote in letter to the Industrial Siting Council. 

"The opponents to the project have attempted to stymie Wasatch Wind's efforts to succeed with the project as well as obtain a (purchase power agreement), but notably have not succeeded on any issue or in any forum," Mikell wrote.

She argued that the legal proceedings had consumed the time the company needed to fulfill the terms of the state permit.

"Fairness and equity require that the deadline be extended to allow the project to be completed," the letter states.

The extension, if approved, would be the second granted to the project by the council. Wasatch's original financial partner, Edison Mission Energy, filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

The council then extended the company's initial permit, giving Wasatch until May of this year to demonstrate its financial ability. 

The Northern Laramie Range Alliance questioned Wasatch's statement that the project is financially viable.

"We have seen no evidence that Wasatch has been able to find reliable financing for this project," said Ken Lay, a member of the alliance. "The backer they advanced to the Industrial Siting Council went bankrupt, and they have yet to identify any new sources of financing."

Luke Esch, the Industrial Siting Division administrator, could not be reached for comment.

A public hearing on the extension has been scheduled for July 14 in Douglas. 

Reach energy reporter Benjamin Storrow at 307-335-5344 or benjamin.storrow@trib.com. Follow him on Twitter @bstorrow

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. dennydewclaw
    Report Abuse
    dennydewclaw - June 02, 2014 6:37 am
    Hey rodent brain. In case you haven't noticed your pal Barraaack Hussein Kardashian Oblamo has declared a war on coal. Your "boys" on the mountains are a bunch of dithering old oil tycoons. If they & your pal Oblamo get their way this State will be like Nebraska without corn (no offense intended to Nebraska).
  2. thehousemouse
    Report Abuse
    thehousemouse - June 01, 2014 9:17 pm
    keep them busy boys you may be able to kill the project if you can hold out... good luck
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