Proceed with caution on wind projects
The sign reads “Wyoming will blow you away” as travelers enter. It means that the experience and the views of our beautiful state will be impressive.
But Wyoming is also windy and companies want to erect more and more industrial wind farms here without considering first the state’s integrity. Presently we are without a master plan for siting wind projects statewide.
“Energy sprawl” is the term used by scientist Joseph Kieseker to describe the enormous amount of land required for an industrial wind farm. For example, he figures that a bulb illuminated by wind generation requires 7 times the acreage to light it with coal — and that is an understatement. When an 80-megawatt wind farm which actually adds only 32 megawatts of system generating capacity uses 20,000 acres as “project area,” all those acres are degraded with loss of topsoil, erosion, miles of roads and lines, loss of bats, Eagles and other birds and displacement of grouse, deer, antelope and elk.
Forty-eight percent of Wyoming is federal land where permitting a wind farm takes much longer to obtain. In addition 15 million acres are protected as sage grouse core areas. So wind developers go after private land, not because it is close to load and transmission or on already degraded land but because a landowner is willing to lease his land for industry.
The turbines are huge, the acreage vast and lines intrude for miles over our beautiful state.
Shall we relax and let Wyoming go “blowin’ in the wind” or shall we stand up, speak out and call our lawmakers and public officials and ask them to proceed with caution? Who cares enough to save our pristine state? I do!