Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project

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41°42′N 107°12′W / 41.7°N 107.2°W / 41.7; -107.2

Wind resource map at 50m above ground
External images
Area map
Wind resource map at 80m above ground

The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project is the largest proposed commercial wind generation facility in North America.


Power Company of Wyoming (PCW) began planning around 2005 for approximately 1,000 wind turbines on lands owned by The Overland Trail Ranch, [1] located south of Rawlins, Wyoming, in Carbon County; a former coal mining area. [2]

In 2007, Power Company of Wyoming installed 10 test turbines to test and verify the wind resources in the proposed area. [3]


The project is proposed to generate 2,000 to 3,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity and construction may take 3–4 years with a project life estimate of 30 years. [4] [5] [6] [7]

While winds in Texas and Iowa often blow at night, wind grows during the day in Wyoming, corresponding with consumption. The wind is Class 7, [8] and the wind capacity factor is around 46%. [9]

Construction of the wind farm's first phase could start in 2016 with completion in 2017-2019 for phase I, and 2022-2023 for phase II. [10] The first phase of 1,500 MW is expected to yield 6 TWh per year. [11] Erecting the turbines would be difficult in daytime winds, and PCW plans to set them up at night. The turbines are to be brought on site by a new rail spur, and then distributed by 500 miles of new construction roads. [8]


Impact Assistance to the local communities is expected to be $53 million, most of it to Carbon. Tax revenue could be $780 million. [12] [13] During construction, 400 workers would be employed on average, but peaking at 900. After construction, 114 people would be permanently employed. [14]

The associated 3,000 MW HVDC TransWest Express Transmission Line (also owned by PCW) from the area to Las Vegas (730 miles) [15] is expected by NREL analysts save $500 million to around $1 billion per year for Californian consumers, compared to Californian alternatives. [16] [9] [8] The TWE received approvals in December 2016/January 2017. [17] [18]

Wyoming is the only US state to tax wind power. A tax increase may impact the economy of the project. [19] [20] [21]

Regulatory process

PCW applied to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2008 to build the $5 billion project, which was initially approved in 2012, [22] and a second approval came in March 2016. [11] There are many different approvals to apply for, and the BLM struggled to build a regulatory system capable of handling the many new large solar and wind projects on federal lands. [23] In April 2016, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service released a draft environmental impact statement on the project for 60 days of public comment. [24] [25] BLM and FWS provided partial approvals in January 2017. [26] [27]


The area is sensitive for sage-grouse. Up to 50 biologists have tagged 370 grouse since 2010, researching their behavior around the area. A team researches golden eagles, as an "eagle take" permit is necessary. The research is to be continued during construction and operation of the wind farm so as to be compared with the condition prior to construction. The $3 million research project is paid by PCW. [8] The Bureau of Land Management estimated 40-64 eagles per year for 1.000 turbines, whereas the Fish and Wildlife Service estimates 10-16 for 500 turbines. [28]


Chokecherry ... And ... Sierra ... Madre ... Wind ... Energy ... Project ...



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