HANNA – Ground was officially broken for Rocky Mountain Power’s Energy Vision 2020 at their Seven Mile Wind Farm last week.
With the June 5 groundbreaking behind them, Rocky Mountain Power’s next step is a spree of construction across the state, with three new wind farms being added, rebuilding existing wind farms to become more productive, along with more than 140 miles of new transmission line, all to be completed before the end of 2020.
The official ceremony began with speeches from Rocky Mountain Power executives describing the long struggle to bring Energy Vision 2020 into reality, and their commitment to the future of Wyoming.
“We’re going to be here for a long time,” said Chad Teply, senior vice president of strategy and development.
Carbon County Commissioner John Johnson spoke in praise of Rocky Mountain Power’s willingness to work through the concerns of commissioners, landowners, and private citizens.
Finally, Nancy Anderson, a local historian, concluded the ceremony by describing the rolling hills of Carbon County stand as a crossroad of American History, finishing her speech by stating wind power is was the next great frontier for both Wyoming and the nation as a whole.
“Now comes something more ephemeral, the power of the wind,” concluded Anderson.
Wednesday’s ceremony represents the culmination of more than a decade of work on the part of Rocky Mountain Power, as the years of planning, presentations, and mountains of paperwork will finally see their efforts become reality.
“Although it’s been a decade, we’re effectively at the start line,” said Teply.
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The goal for Rocky Mountain Power is have every Energy Vision 2020 project completed by the end of 2020, leaving the company with less than a year and a half to finish the ambitious plan.
“Over the next 18 months, we go into more of a production mode,” said Teply. “We got a lot of work to do.”
The project is estimated to create more than 1,500 construction jobs during the next year and a half, with a further 100 full-time positions being created to man the Rocky Mountain Power’s newest facilities.
The mass construction spree is estimated to dump $120 million in tax revenue over the duration of construction.
Energy Vision 2020 is estimated to also add $11 million in annual tax revenue after its 2020 completion date, with a further $14 million after 2023.
The gap between the initial planning and Wednesday’s ceremony boiled down to the complexity of planning for three enormous projects, that sit on federal, state, county and privately owned land.
The route of the new transmission line only added to the complexity, as the crossed through the checkerboard pattern of land ownership that defines the region.
Despite the immense complexity of preparing three new wind farms, 140-mile transmission line, and rebuilding many of their current wind turbines, Teply is confident Rocky Mountain Power is ready for construction.
Teply went onto say the main challenge facing the project now are the complications facing all building projects. Teply further stated Rocky Mountain Power is prepared for these challenges as experienced contractors are assisting in completing the many projects promised by Energy Vision 2020.