Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2013
CONTACT: Jen Neville, 720-962-7050, PublicAffairs@wapa.gov

LOOKING AT WIND ENERGY’S ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
IN UPPER GREAT PLAINS

Agencies seek input to streamlined environmental review for wind farms

wind turbine
Turbines produce energy at the PrairieWinds 1 wind farm, south of Minot, N.D. (Photo taken by Western Area Power Administration, 2009)

LAKEWOOD, Colo.—Two Federal agencies are traveling across the Upper Great Plains Region gathering public input on changes to the environmental review process they conduct when a wind farm wants to connect to the electric grid.

"Wind generation looks promising in the UGP Region as a way to meet increasing energy needs," said Matt Marsh, an environment specialist for Western Area Power Administration. "And we've seen an increase in interconnection requests for wind farms."

Western has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to draft a Wind Energy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement that will address common regional concerns and environmental elements when evaluating a wind farm interconnection request.

"We're proposing a standardized review process that would address concerns and issues when a wind developer requests an interconnection," said Marsh. "With this programmatic process in place, we can streamline decision-making."

The programmatic EIS would analyze impacts and mitigation for each environmental resource and all aspects of wind energy projects, including turbine, transformer, collector line, access road, substation installations and operational and maintenance activities.

Agencies seek public comment
Western and Fish and Wildlife are now seeking public input for this systematic review. "We're hosting three open houses so we can answer questions and get input from folks," said Marsh. "We hope people will come and provide comments about the draft." Open house dates are:

  • Tuesday, April 30
    Crowne Plaza Hotel
    27 N. 27th St.
    Billings, MT 59101
  • Wednesday, May 1
    Ramada Bismarck Hotel
    1400 E Interchange Ave, Bismarck, ND  58501
  • Thursday, May 2
    Best Western Plus Ramkota
    3200 W. Maple St.
    Sioux Falls, SD 57107

If you can't make it to one of the meetings, you can find out more about the programmatic EIS online at http://plainswindeis.anl.gov or talking to Environment Manager Nick Stas.

Reach him by:

Comments on the draft programmatic EIS must be received on or before May 21, 2013.

-30-


Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 10,000 megawatts of clean, renewable power from hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 15 western and central states.  It is part of the Department of Energy.

PO Box 281213 Lakewood , CO 80228-2802 * Phone: 720-962-7050 * Toll Free: 1-800-982-4523
Fax: 720-962-7059 * E-mail: PublicAffairs@wapa.gov * Web site: http://ww2.wapa.gov/sites/western/Pages/default.aspx

Serving the West with Federal hydropower

Return to the Newsroom.