The Saratoga Sun -

PCW, progress and delays

 


The Power Company of Wyoming (PCW) hoped to begin construction of the Chokecherry Sierra Madre wind farm (CCSM) in the fourth quarter of 2014.

This is no longer a realistic start date.

“As part of the permitting you have to put a stake in the ground,” said Kara Choquette, Communications Director for PCW.

A new extension of the Carbon County conditional use permit for the wind farm states the project must begin before October 2, 2015.

Why does PCW need more time? The answer seems to be that the permitting process takes a long time and a large part of it is out of the company’s hands.

Progress is being made, however, and according to Choquette, PCW is focused on the permitting process and when the permits are in hand they will focus on construction.

The final Industrial Siting Council (ISC) meeting for the proposed CCSM is scheduled to begin on Aug. 5 at the Platte Valley Community Center in Saratoga.

The ISC meeting is one of the last major hoops PCW has to jump through before construction can begin.

Work continues on an Avian Protection Plan and Eagle Conservation Plan in conjunction with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Site specific National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents are being developed for the proposed haul road, rail facility and quarries. The USFWS is working on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for an Eagle Take Permit for the project.

A county road use agreement went into effect on July 15, and stipulates Carbon County roads 347 South, 401 (Sage Creek Road), 407 (CIG Road), and 505 (Miller Hill Road) will be maintained and repaired over the course of the wind farm construction. Measures will also be taken for dust abatement, access and safety, realignments and reclamation of any disturbed areas.

According to documents included with application for a permit to construct the wind farm released in May, the construction costs for the CCSM project are currently estimated to be approximately 4.79 billion over an eight year period.

The Anschutz Company, of which PCW is a subsidiary, anticipates the CCSM Project will be funded 35 percent with equity—approximately $1.68 billion and 65 percent with debt—approximately $3.11 billion. As of May, Anschutz has expended over $45 million in development costs for the CCSM Project.

PCW is projecting over $232 million in sales tax revenues to be generated by the CCSM project. If realized, about $123 million of the tax revenue would end up in Carbon County, mostly distributed among the municipalities in proportion to the population of those municipalities. This would mean revenues of $13 million for Saratoga, $3.4 million for Encampment and $369,000 for Riverside.

 

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