A Utah company with plans to build a wind farm near Glenrock got a new lease on life for its turbine project from a state board Monday.
The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council granted Park City, Utah-based Wasatch Wind Intermountain LLC a 10-month extension to prove it has sufficient financial resources to construct, maintain, operate and reclaim its project.
Wasatch Wind’s financial partner, Edison Mission Energy, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year.
Wasatch now has until May 2014 to show the state it has cash or financing for its Pioneer Wind Park along Mormon Canyon Road in Converse County, said Luke Esch, administrator of the Industrial Siting Division, the state agency that administers the decisions of the governor-appointed council.
In Wyoming, companies about to begin large-scale construction projects exceeding $190.8 million must get permission from the Industrial Siting Council, which analyzes permits and impacts to local communities, Esch said.
Wasatch did not respond to messages from the Casper Star-Tribune.
At a permit hearing on July 18, 2011, members of the Industrial Siting Council told the company that Edison Mission financing wasn’t enough, Esch said. The council wanted to see additional sources of money. The council gave the company two years to show it had additional resources to fund the project. That deadline — July 18 — is approaching, and the company asked for a new deadline of May 2014.
It is unclear whether the company has lined up additional financing.
“I’m not aware of their current arrangements with any financial partners,” Esch said.
Also Monday, the Industrial Siting Council altered the permit to reduce the number of turbines the 100-megawatt project would use, from 62 to 46, Esch said.
“They’ve changed to more-efficient turbines,” he said.
Fewer turbines does not make much of a difference to members of the Northern Laramie Range Alliance, a group of property owners in the area who are fighting the wind farm, said Kenneth Lay, who is on the alliance’s steering committee.
“We’re not seeing a material change as a consequence of the turbine changes,” he said. “What you will have seen is they’re proposing to purchase turbines that have a somewhat larger generating capacity but effectively the placement of the turbines creates the same issues all along.”