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Obama reaches 10,000-MW goal for renewables in public lands – D.O.I

Obama reaches 10,000-MW goal for renewables in public lands – D.O.I

President Obama’s goal of authorizing 10,000 megawatts of renewable power on public lands has been reached according to the United States Department of the Interior, following the approval of two new wind project sites in Wyoming.

Interior secretary Ken Salazar confirmed the approval of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project sites, a complex that the department said could generate up to 3,000 megawatts of power in southeastern Wyoming.

The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre projects will be developed in phases and operated by Power Company of Wyoming L.L.C. It will have 1,000 wind turbines standing on approximately 219,707 acres of public land.

The decision authorizes the Bureau of Land Management to proceed with site-specific environmental analysis for the two wind farms and supporting infrastructure such as the internal haul road, internal 230-kilovolt transmission line, rail distribution facility and substations to connect the project to the grid.

Additional environmental reviews will be conducted for specific turbine layout in which the bureau will continue to engage stakeholders.

The Record of Decision also approves amendments to the bureau’s Rawlins Resource Management plan, identifying the project area as available for wind energy development. The BLM in this area oversees more than 3.5 million acres in Albany, Carbon, Laramie and Sweetwater counties.

The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre projects are located about 10 miles south of Rawlins in Carbon County. Construction will create an estimated 1,000 full-time jobs with 114 permanent positions created when it becomes operational.

The Power Company of Wyoming estimates that this project will contribute $232 million in sales and use taxes to Carbon County; and an estimated $149 million to the State of Wyoming over 20 years for electricity generation tax.

“President Obama challenged us in his State of the Union address to authorize 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy on our public lands by the end of the year – enough to meet the needs of more than 3 million homes – and today we are making good on that promise,” said Mr. Salazar.

Since 2009, the Interior Department has authorized 33 renewable energy projects, including 18 utility-scale solar facilities, seven wind farms and eight geothermal plants, with associated transmission corridors and infrastructure that will enable the projects to connect to established power grids.

When built, these projects will provide more than 10,000 megawatts of power, or enough electricity to power more than 3.5 million homes, and would support an estimated 13,000 construction and operations jobs according to project developers. – EcoSeed Staff

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