Posted at 5 p.m. May 10, 2017

Wyoming to host largest wind-energy
project on the planet

What started out as a conversation in a Boston coffee shop in 2010 led to the rise of one of the most successful wind-power energy companies in the world. Goldwind, a world leader in turbine technology, has recently collaborated with Wyoming’s Viridis Eolia, to produce the world’s largest wind-energy project right here in the Cowboy State.

Viridis Eolia, a corporation that develops, owns, and operates renewable energy resources, has come up with what the company calls the Master Plan which is a nine-phase plan that is set to begin with its first phase in the Medicine Bow area and is expected to be commercially operational in 2017 upon approval of the Wyoming State Legislature. Further continuation into the next phases will resume in 2018 through 2022 and will depend on if Viridis Eolia wants to carry on with the project and obtaining permits from local governments to construct turbines on the projected sites. If all phases of the Master Plan are completed, each of the 748 turbines will generate 2.5 megawatts of power per second and all together the turbines will generate 1.8 gigawatts of power per second.

Goldwind’s turbines are unique due to the fact that its model is the only one of its kind in the world. Cost efficient and more reliable, permanent magnet direct-drive (PMDD) technology has a gearless advantage and state-of-the-art pitch control system compared to other turbines, which has reduced maintenance costs and increased energy production according to Goldwind’s website.

This will open up many jobs to the area, including opportunities for future-graduates from Laramie County Community College.

Tim O’Malley, Goldwind’s operations manager in the USA, visited LCCC on May 9 and said he was impressed with LCCC’s wind energy program. O’Malley said LCCC’s wind energy program was in his top three of the best programs in the country that he has seen. For Wind-Energy students graduating next May, O’Malley mentioned that there would be job opportunities with Goldwind in sites such as Texas and possibly with the upcoming project in Wyoming. He said that he would be, “very comfortable,” hiring students from LCCC’s Wind-Energy program.

O’Malley said he has a positive outlook on the Master Plan project and that the only issue that this project, and other projects in the country, will have is with the grid system.

“It was all hodge-podged together back in the earlier 1900s when they started building grids and every little section of the country had their own and then we started the urban sprawl and connecting. Everybody just kind of fenagled their grids together out of necessity.”

The grid system comes into discussion with the Master Plan because of how remote Wyoming is and the significant amount of power the turbines will create. In order for the turbines to be efficient in Wyoming, where energy is in less demand then say in Southern California, companies must find a way to store and transmit power where it will be useful.

O’Malley said that within the past few years, researchers have already made progress with battery technology which is capable of storing power on days with more wind.

Viridis Eolia and Goldwind will be holding a community outreach seminar in the Pathfinder building on the LCCC Campus later this year or next year for Wyoming residents interested in working on the upcoming project.


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