WY Utility's First Wind Farm Faces Replacement

WYOMING - A Wyoming utility company has filed a permit to replace its first wind farm—originally commissioned in 1998, composed of over 65 turbines—located at Foote Creek Rim I. The replacement would downsize the number of turbines to 12, which would still generate roughly the same energy output.

According to the Star Tribune, PacifiCorp’s new installation would involve new nacelles, new towers and new blades. The permit was filed with Carbon County.


New WY Wind Farm

The replacement wind turbines will stand more than twice as tall as the old: Those currently installed stand 200 feet tall, whereas their replacements will tower closer to 500 feet. Though this move is part of the company’s overall plan to expand its state wind fleet, the work going into the Foote Creek site is somewhat special, noted David Eskelsen, spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Power, the western arm of PacifiCorp.

“Foote Creek I repowering is somewhat different from the repowering projects announced in the (Energy Vision) 2020 initiative,” he said. “Foote Creek is a complete replacement of the existing 68 foundations, towers, turbine nacelles and rotors (blades).”

Currently, the turbines at Foote Creek have 600 kilowatts capacity each; the replacements’ maximum production ranges from 2 megawatts to 4.2 megawatts each, with the total output remaining steady at 41.4 megawatts, though there will be a slight capacity increase to 41.6 megawatts, according to the Star Tribune.

As part of the wind farm repowering initiative, PacifiCorp is to become full owner and operator of the Foote Creek site. When the farm was originally built, an Oregon-based water and electric board was 21 percent owner; 37 percent of the project’s output was tied into a contract with the Bonneville Power Administration.

Otherwise, PacifiCorp is moving to further expand its state wind fleet with the addition of three new wind farms—to be located in Carbon, Albany and Converse counties—which may add up to 1,150 megawatts of power.

According to PacifiCorp, the company has more than 1,000 megawatts of owned wind generation capability, along with long-term purchase agreements for more than 600 megawatts from other wind farms owned by other entities. Energy Vision 2020 refers to a $3.5 billion investment and company move that is looking to upgrade the company's existing wind fleet with newer technology, adding 1,150 megawatts of new wind resources by 2020 and a a new 140-mile Gateway West transmission segment in Wyoming.



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