The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released the second of two Environmental Assessments, along with a draft Finding of No New Significant Impact, for Phase I of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre (CCSM) Wind Energy Project. The CCSM Project is a 1,000-turbine wind farm being developed by Power Company of Wyoming LLC that will employ up to 1,000 people at peak construction and generate up to 3,000 MW of clean, renewable power – enough to run nearly 1 million homes.
The Environmental Assessment (EA) the BLM released examines the potential, site-specific impacts of constructing 500 wind turbines on mixed ownership land in the first phase of the CCSM project in southern Wyoming. The two-phase development proposes to build 1,000 wind turbines on 219,707 acres south of Rawlins in Carbon County. BLM administers approximately half of the land, and the remainder of the site is made up of privately owned and state lands.
A Draft Finding of No New Significant Impact (FONNSI) accompanies the EA. The BLM is seeking public comments on both documents, which are available at the BLM Wyoming CCSM Wind Energy Project web page or the BLM’s CCSM ePlanning site.
“The Bureau of Land Management is committed to responsibly developing renewable energy on our Nation’s public lands,” says Mary Jo Rugwell, acting state director of BLM Wyoming. “We’re working in close cooperation with state, local and industry officials, as well as non-government groups, to evaluate these projects at a landscape-level, with extensive environmental reviews, to mitigate potential impacts and ensure that species’ needs are met along with renewable energy goals.”
In addition to the 1,000 construction jobs, the CCSM project is expected to create more than 100 permanent positions in operations and maintenance and generate more than $300 million in property-tax revenue during construction and over its first 20 years of operation. The Power Co. of Wyoming LLC, which will develop and operate the project, estimates the complex will contribute $232 million from sales taxes and $170 million from a state wind-electricity tax. The BLM promotes responsible development of utility-scale renewable energy projects on public lands as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to diversify the U.S. energy portfolio.
Since 2009, the BLM has approved 57 projects, including 9,763 MW of solar energy, 4,767 MW of wind energy and 605 MW of geothermal, for a total of 15,134 MW of approved capacity.