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Glenrock Wind Farm

Something pretty amazing is going on in a little town called Glenrock, Wyoming. Glenrock only has a population of about 2,300 people and is located about half an hour’s drive east of Casper, Wyoming. Since the 1950’s, this small town has survived and prospered largely because of one thing: coal. Just outside of town, the Dave Johnston Mine dominates the landscape, stretching over 9 miles. Over the course of its operation, the mine gave up its bounty of more than 104 million tons of energy-rich coal. In the 1990’s, the mine became less economical to operate and ceased production. Ever since, the mine has been conducting full-scale reclamation efforts, filling in the massive pits, planting and nurturing native species of vegetation, and making every effort to return the landscape to what it must have looked like prior to mining.

One might see this as a success story all by itself, but there is more. The mine’s operator, Rocky Mountain Power, saw that this property was ideally suited for another purpose: a wind farm. The company already owned the land, already had a significant system of transmission lines nearby, and the landscape is dominated by rolling hills and significant winds. This site now hosts 158 wind turbines that can produce 237 megawatts of power. That is enough electricity to supply 66,800 households for one year. The mine may have closed, but the land is still giving up its bounty. Where once there was an open pit, there are antelope grazing. Where once there was a heavy carbon footprint, there is now a clean, green source of power.

Figure 1

View of Dave Johnston Mine, east of Casper, WY – Wind Farm established on reclaimed mine land.

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For more information on the GlenRock Wind Farm, check out the following News Releases and Blogs concerning the Glenrock Wind Farm :

“From Coal Mine to Wind Farm”, Geek Gestalt blog, credited to Daniel Terdiman, CNET News. This has the CNET news release and some excellent photos.

Tetra Tech describes installation of the wind farm project.

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