The construction of a planned wind project straddling the border of Albany County and Carbon County is expected to employ 400 workers during 2022, according to an application for an industrial development permit filed with the Department of Environmental Quality in July.
Construction for both projects is estimated to cost about $1 billion.
The parent company of the Two Rivers Wind and Lucky Star Wind projects, Canada-based BluEarth Renewables, filed July 15 for the DEQ permit to construct the wind farm near Rock River and Medicine Bow.
During 19 months of construction, the projects should employ an average of 144 workers, though 80 percent of those workers are expected to be “non-local.”
To accommodate the workforce, project backers are considering building a man-camp in Carbon County.
With some turbines being placed within a few miles of Bosler, the developer is expecting Albany County, not Carbon, will have the task of housing most non-local workers who aren’t staying in a man-camp.
“Because of the proximity of the Project site to Laramie and the existence of considerable temporary and rental housing in that city, it is anticipated that more workers will choose to live in Laramie” than Carbon County municipalities, according to the project application.
After the turbines are erected, both projects will only employ 36 permanent employees.
From 2021-2023, the projects are projected to generate $52.1 million in sales and use taxes and $7.8 million in property taxes.
However, the state wind tax will provide just $2.56 million in revenue for the state’s general fund during the entire 30-year life of the project.
Ultimately, Albany County is expected to receive $35.78 million in cumulative tax revenue for the project. Developers have also proposed paying the county $5.6 million for impact assistance, with another $1.6 million going to Rock River and $800,000 going to the city of Laramie.
“Since there’s no county roads being impacted, the impact on the county in general is going to be pretty minimal,” Albany County Assistant Planner Chris Van Aiken told planning commission members in June.
BluEarth Renewables’s U.S. affiliate bought the development rights to the project in June 2018 from Colorado-based Intermountain Wind.
The Albany County Commission signed off on the projects at its July 16 meeting.
Wind turbines could be placed as close as 1 mile from Rock River, though Albany County’s planning staff has said it’s “unlikely that frequent construction noise or vibration will be experienced by the residents.” Operational noise is also projected not to be a nuisance for Rock River residents.
Carbon County’s planning commission plans to vote on both projects next week, with county commissioners considering the permit in September.
According to the projects’ application, wind turbine components will be hauled from Cheyenne via Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 30, avoiding transport through Laramie.
The Lucky Star Project entails a single facility with a nameplate capacity of 500 megawatts.
That project will install up to 200 turbines on the acreage of three ranches: 51,152 acres of the Lookout Ranch in Albany County, 22,020 acres of the Medicine Bow River Ranch in Carbon and Albany counties and 6,645 acres of the True Ranches property in both counties.
Construction of Lucky Star is scheduled to run from April 2022-October 2023, with the project’s workforce peaking at 400 workers in July 2022.
The turbines are scheduled to be operational at the end of 2023.
The Two Rivers project consists of building three wind generation facilities on 15,881 acres of the Two Rivers Ranch in Carbon County and one facility on 4,500 acres of the Medicine Bow River Ranch in Albany County.
Two Rivers will include up to 77 wind turbines with a nameplate capacity of 280 megawatts.
Construction of Two Rivers is scheduled to run from April 2021 until early 2022, with the project’s workforce peaking at 262 workers in the third quarter of 2021.
The DEQ is expecting to host a public hearing concerning the wind projects Oct. 9 in Laramie.