Blades rest on the ground next to a line of wind turbines in Albany County in this photograph taken from a small airplane. Some wind farms in the state have been getting technology upgrades, including the installation of longer, more productive blades. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)

Viewed from the window of a small Cessna airplane roughly 2,000 feet above the Earth, the lines of wind turbines like this one near Medicine Bow appear to crowd the landscape of Albany and Carbon counties.

While companies are slated to erect new wind turbines around the state, existing turbines are also becoming more powerful. PacifiCorp, the parent company of Rocky Mountain Power, is in the midst of its Energy Vision 2020 initiative, which involves both adding 1,150 megawatts of new wind power to its system and “repowering” older turbines with newer technology.  Those upgrades include replacing old turbine blades with longer, more productive designs. 

In this photograph taken on Aug. 9, blades rest on the ground next to turbines at what is likely a PacifiCorp owned wind farm. Though WyoFile was unable to precisely identify the facility, most turbines under the Cessna’s flight path were owned by PacifiCorp, according to an interactive federal database. It’s unclear whether the blades on the ground are recently-removed old blades or new blades waiting to be mounted. 

Wind’s gains will be coal’s losses — PacifiCorp is building transmission lines to plug its new wind-generated electricity into the regional grid, another step toward a future with less coal power in the nation’s energy mix.

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This is one of seven stories in WyoFile’s “Powering Down” special edition. Click the links below to read more:

Powering Down: Examining coal’s shaky ground from Jim Bridger

Jim Bridger: Lighting the country, laboring in the dark 

As coal’s future dims, uneasiness permeates Rock Springs

Life beneath the earth in Wyo’s only underground coal mine

PacifiCorp, DEQ pick less power over clean-coal technology

Coal or free-market conservatism? Lawmakers choose coal

 

Andrew Graham

Andrew Graham is reporting for WyoFile from Laramie. He covers state government, energy and the economy. Reach him at 443-848-8756 or at andrew@wyofile.com, follow him @AndrewGraham88

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  1. Hi Andrew,
    Hopefully, you are just scratching the surface of Wind Energy in Wyoming.

    If you want to get some good background on the Wind Energy issues and where the industry is headed read “Superpower” by WSJ Energy Reporter Russell Gold.