On October 9, 2012, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) approved the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project as “suitable for wind energy development.”  The project could generate up to 3,000 megawatts (“MW”) of power in southeastern Wyoming, and helps DOI reach President Barack Obama’s goal of authorizing 10,000 MW of renewable power on public lands by the end of 2012.

The proposed project would include two sites with up to 1,000 wind turbines on roughly 219,000 acres of land located in Carbon County, Wyoming.  The project would be developed and operated by Power Company of Wyoming LLC and generate enough power for almost 1 million homes.  DOI’s decision to approve the project authorizes the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) to move forward with “site specific” environmental analysis for the wind turbines, the internal 230 kilovolt transmission line, the rail distribution facility, and substations to connect generated power to the grid.

According to DOI, its Record of Decision and Final Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) concerning the project reflect over four years of data-gathering, analysis, and public input.  BLM served as the lead agency responsible for preparing the EIS, and determined that the project site could accommodate up to 1,000 wind turbine generators with 1.5 to 3 MW nameplate capacity and step-up transformers, as well as haul road and transmission connections between the two sites, construction of new roads, and overhead electric transmission lines to connect power from the wind farms to a new substation.

A copy of the press release is available here.