Wind and energy have been hot topics for many years. Casper, Wyoming is taking things a step further with the Natrona County Commission voting to issue a conditional use permit to Anticline Wind LLC for the building of an industrial wind project on July 6, 2021.
Set to be built north of Casper on private property, this is just step one for the company. The Wyoming Industrial Siting Council will now take them through a stringent permitting process. While this is a minor victory for Anticline Wind, several stakeholders in opposition include landowners, Casper-Natrona County International Airport board members, noise experts, county staff, and project managers.
If the company clears the next step of approval, construction is slated to start in late 2024. One of the arguments against this wind project is the visual impact of up to 52 turbines built to support operations. The company has agreed to have the turbines set back one mile from any residences to lessen the visual impact that would affect the neighborhood of Antelope Hills.
This project would bring in additional state and local tax revenues over 30 years between $34.01M and $60.7M, including between $18.7M and $34M in property taxes. At the meeting, County Attorney Eric Nelson spoke about the application and process regarding the current laws. Commission Chairman Paul Bertoglio was against issuing the permit during the vote, saying “I despise renewable energy, but my feeling is immaterial to what the rule is in front of us.”
Glenn Januska, airport director, disputed the favorable vote. “The airport board is saying this will make the airport less safe for people that utilize the airport.” The only Commissioner who voted against the permit was Dave North, who understood and values the opinion of the airport board.
While many in opposition feel this could impact property values for homeowners and developers, many are in favor of wind energy because of the additional funding and jobs it brings to the county. A commissioner from Converse County spoke on this, citing that the wind projects already in the county have been a huge benefit, especially throughout the pandemic when oil was at all-time lows.
“They picked up the slack with sales tax. Had it not been for that wind energy, our county would have suffered.”