This year the Obama administration in the United States has attempted to streamline the process of approving renewable energy projects across the country. Land has been pre-approved for renewable energy projects, as well as many projects being put on a list for immediate review and potential approval as of August. One of those very projects was recently approved by the administration.
The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, slated to be located in Wyoming, was recently given approval by the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Salazar signed a record of decision which now allows for the Bureau of Land Management to perform environmental assessments in order to determine the placement of project-specific items, such as roads.
The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project will be located in south-central Wyoming. The wind project could amount to as much as 3,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity, currently the largest wind project in the U.S.. The project plans include upwards of 1,000 turbines spread across approximately 350 square mils of Bureau of Land Management land. The project could power upwards of 1 million homes.
Preparations for the project, including roadwork, are expected to begin in 2013. Actual turbine installations will likely begin in 2014, with approximately 300 installed every year for three years to amount to 1,000 total turbines. The wind energy project will bring approvals by the Obama administration up to 10,000 megawatts on public land. Currently only four percent of U.S. electricity is attained through onshore wind, a total that is expected to rise (especially with the latest approved project) and is needed to rise in order to meet 2020 goals.