OPPOSITION: State Officials, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
BACKGROUND: The Carbon County Planning Commission approved development plans for Horizon Wind Energy’s 154-turbine project in 2009, and construction of the wind farm was expected to begin either in 2010 or 2011. However, the presence of the endangered sage grouse on the project site has put the wind farm in jeopardy.
In August 2008, state officials in Wyoming decided not to allow wind development in Wyoming’s sage grouse core areas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided that wind “is not compatible…with the core areas approach.” Horizon hoped to create a pilot wind farm in the area to gather scientific data on the impact of wind development on sage grouse so that Horizon would be able to develop a mitigation plan, but those plans did not come to fruition.
In August 2009, Horizon announced that it would suspend the project indefinitely, citing ongoing regulatory uncertainty about sage grouse protections, particularly the question of whether proper mitigation plans can be developed that allow for wind turbines to be built in sage grouse core areas.
SOURCES: Casper Star-Tribune: http://www.trib.com/articles/2009/07/01/news/wyoming/5fb49bb106744d3f872;
Renewable Energy Development: http://renewableenergydev.com/red/wind-power-simpson-ridge-wind-farm/;
New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/08/07/07greenwire-wind-power-industry-retreating-from-wyo-citing-93484.html?pagewanted=1
Last updated December 6, 2010