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U.S. Completes Environmental Review for Largest Wind Farm

The U.S. completed environmental reviews for the nation’s largest wind farm, a 3,000-megawatt project in Wyoming that may generate enough power for 1 million homes.

The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Farm proposed by Power Co. of Wyoming would contain as many as 1,000 turbines on public and private land in Carbon County, according to a statement today.

The U.S. Interior Department is promoting wider use of renewable energy on public land to reduce consumption of foreign oil and create clean-energy jobs, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said today on a conference call with reporters. The agency has approved 31 utility-scale wind, solar and geothermal projects since 2009 with more than 7,200 megawatts of capacity.

“Renewable energy is very much a part of our energy future,” Salazar said. “Our expectation is that we’ll have accomplished placing roots down in the energy portfolio of America.”

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management completed its final environmental impact statement, which will now be available for public comment. Power Co. of Wyoming, a unit of Anschutz Corp., first submitted an application to BLM for the wind farm in 2008.

The power company hasn’t selected a turbine supplier and is seeking a utility to buy the electricity, Kara Choquette, a spokeswoman, said by e-mail today.

Interior also completed environmental assessments for a wind energy area with almost 165,000 acres of water off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The agency will host public sessions July 16 and 17 to hear public comments on the site.

“This environmental assessment is the first of its kind in the Northeast and is based on thorough scientific and technical analysis and substantial stakeholder input to identify the most suitable location for commercial wind energy activities in this area,” Tommy Beaudreau, director of the angecy’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said in the statement.

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