Power company embraces wind energy head on

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HANNA, Wy. (GrayDC) Wind turbines tower over rolling hills in southern Wyoming.

A wind turbine spins on Seven Mile Hill Wind Farm in Hanna, Wyoming. This is just one of 79 turbines currently on the property. (Source: GrayDC)

A power company in Wyoming is investing billions of dollars to produce more wind energy for customers in the western U.S.

This comes as the fossil fuel rich state is working to find more renewable energy options to generate revenue.

Laine Anderson, Director of Wind Operations, Rocky Mountain Power
“It’s exciting,” said Laine Anderson, Director of Wind Operations at Rocky Mountain Power.

“Provide our customers with a cheap source of electricity,” he said.

Anderson said they are embracing clean energy head on. They are investing $3.1 billion dollars to upgrade their wind farms.

The company said they are hoping it will help the state’s economy and create jobs.

“There is a great future for wind energy in Wyoming,” said Anderson.

There are currently 79 wind turbines on this farm powering about 300,000 to 400,000 homes, but the new project will propel those numbers even higher.

On the ground, the wind blows at ten miles per hour. But up at the top of the turbines, it blows at 30 miles per hour. Rocky Mountain Power wants to capitalize on that. The company is adding longer blades, about 21 feet longer, to bring more power to people’s homes.

Jason Begger is with the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority that supports business development in the state.

While he supports renewable energy projects, his job is to make sure all types of resources, including oil, gas and coal, are used for years to come.

“What we’re trying to do is develop the technologies, and help develop the infrastructure to ensure these commodities that produce those revenues can be used for long into the future,” said Begger.

Begger acknowledges the state was blessed with abundant natural resources. But he says wind energy is not always a reliable resource and that’s why a combination is necessary.

Right now, Begger is working with private companies to research ways to trap carbon from fossil fuels and recycle it, instead of letting it go into the air.

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