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WLC Provides Wind & Transmission Services, Broadening Wyoming’s Energy Resources

Within recent years interest in commercial development of Wyoming’s wind resources has intensified.  Wyoming has seen wind production increase significantly within the past few years. According to the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy , there are 23 wind farms currently complete and productive in Wyoming, with a combined 1,004 turbines across all facilities.  With a number of additional projects in the works including Choke Cherry and Sierra Madre, TB Flats, Cedar Springs and others, Wyoming’s wind energy capacity is projected to double, increasing power potential by as much as 5,000 megawatts over the next five to seven years.

So why the sudden ramp up in wind production? Low costs and a push for resource diversification. Wind energy can provide an alternate generation source to support traditional generation methods increasing the national grids overall capacity for a power hungry market. For example, the power generated by renewable sources like wind and solar is significantly cheaper on the open market. There are also federal incentives behind energy production across the country. The federal government has been calling for energy diversification and an increase in renewables, resulting in federal tax subsidies for companies that focus on wind. This tax credit set to expire in 2020, is enticing energy companies to get as many wind projects off the ground as possible before the sunset date.

It’s well known that Wyoming has open space and wind in abundance, making our state 15th in the nation for installed wind capacity, according to the Department of Energy What many may not know is that harnessing this energy involves much more than simply installing the massive wind turbines you’ve seen scattered throughout some Wyoming plains. Years of research, environmental and capacity studies, local and state government coordination, conceptual to final design and construction are behind these projects. As a leading engineering and surveying firm, WLC provides a range of services that make wind and transmission projects in our state possible. WLC has supported the installation of 78% of the completed turbines in Wyoming to date by providing surveying, mapping, engineering or materials testing services.

Considered a leading expert in this industry, WLC seamlessly works with wind developers and producers to get these projects online.As a local firm, WLC provides local insight on state and federal regulation, specifications, and environment and weather factors as well as reduces out-of-state contracting expenses for developers. In addition to WLC’s unique expertise, detailed below, our firm is a valuable partner for wind and transmission projects in our state.

Some of the more recent projects WLC has been or is currently involved in include:

Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind  Farm: The Power Company of Wyoming hired WLC to provide land surveying and GIS services as part of a utility inventory for the Chokecherry & Sierra Madre Wind Farm still under development south of Rawlins. WLC’s tasks included locating and mapping underground interstate gas and petroleum pipelines and water pipelines and surveying overhead electrical distribution lines along Sage Creek Road. In addition, WLC provided geo-tagged photography and surveyed the project control using GPS for laying out the alignment of 81 miles of roads .When completed, this project will be the largest onshore wind farm in the United States, with the capacity to generate 3,000 megawatts of power from up to 1,000 turbines.

Pioneer Park: In 2010, WLC performed a boundary inventory for the Pioneer Park Wind Farm, south of Glenrock, which included a project overview and field mapping services to aid in the recovery of Public Land Survey System (PLSS) monuments and determine land ownership and right-of-entry. WLC also completed turbine micro-sighting and an ALTA survey for the project in 2011.

Other notable projects include materials testing for the Three Buttes Wind Farm and the Top of the World Wind Energy project in Natrona County as well as surveying and mapping services for the High Plains Wind Energy Project in Albany County and the Foote Creek Wind Energy Project in Carbon County, the first commercial wind farm in the State.

Installing wind turbines that convert wind into energy is only one part of the equation. To make Wyoming’s wind marketable, transmission lines must carry the energy from wind farms out of state to areas that need additional resources. The surveying and GIS services WLC provided on the multi-state Gateway West Powerline Project cover 344 miles across five Wyoming counties, increasing the capacity for power transmission from Wyoming to the West Coast.

Founded in 1948, WLC Engineering and Surveying is recognized throughout the state as a quality provider of surveying, civil and geotechnical engineering, GIS, and materials testing on wind and transmission projects.  Contact us today for more information.

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