County OKs wind turbine for Wal-Mart distribution center

Happy Jack Windfarm

Made the local newspaper today.  They didn’t spell my name right, but they got the gist of the story straight.

Fairfield Energy Partners proposed to build a single 2.5 MW direct-drive wind turbine on an 80-meter tower, at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center west of Cheyenne.  The Large Wind Energy System (WES) would provide peaking power directly to the warehouse, without a general grid interconnect.  Fairfield is also introducing a new type of battery storage system which will allow them to store and smooth out electricity flow to the facility.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some people like the look of wind turbines, some don’t”
– Laramie County Commissioner Buck Holmes

Distributed generation is looking increasingly promising, both as an alternative to diesel backup generators, and to reduce stress on the nation’s aging transmission grid. And its not just wind, but a combination of sources such as solar and biomass, as a complement to traditional coal and gas energy generation. The US Energy Information Administration recently released a report on the field (before the government shutdown):

Distributed generation in the residential and commercial buildings sectors refers to the on-site generation of energy, often electricity from renewable energy systems such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and small wind turbines. Many factors influence the market for distributed generation, including government policies at the local, state, and federal level, and project costs, which vary significantly depending on time, location, size, and application.

As relatively new technologies on the globalized production market, PV and small wind are experiencing significant cost changes through technological progress and economies of scale.

It is an interesting project, and we worked for most of the last year to address  concerns and requirements of the Laramie County Land Use Regulations.  This is a large, utility-scale turbine, but it is also located within a square-mile industrial park.  While residents very rightly are concerned with impacts of energy projects of all stripes, the Planning Commission and Board felt the concerns were addressed within the scope of the law.

Wyoming Tribune Eagle A10 16102013 (PDF)


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