September 4, 2019
September 4, 2019
Commissioners Robert ‘Pits’ DeArmond, Scott Blain, and Bill Bullock, and Administrative Officer Angela Newell were present. PacifiCorp Sr. Business Development Specialist Ken Clark, John, PacifiCorp Project Development Director Bob Van Engelenhoven, Bridger School Superintendent Bill Phillips, Bridger School Board Chair Krystal Zentner, Beartooth RC&D Economic Development Director Steve Simonson, Jerry Gereghty, Jerry Sticka, Gary Bramble, Steve Regele, Deanna Hay, Larry Hay, Shala Cullum, and Shawn Berkie.
7:00 Ken Clark introduced PacificCorp noting they built their first wind project in 1999. The Pryor Mountain project will be 240 MWh and is one project that will double PacifiCorp’s power generated by wind. Construction needs to be finalized by the end of 2020 to qualify for federal tax credits. The project will tie into PacifiCorp’s transmission line that runs from Yellowtail Damn into Meeteetse WY. Ken gave an overview of the wind turbines that will be used in the project and the construction schedule. Ken noted they expect approximately 1,240 truckloads to deliver the towers and turbines. At peak construction there would be maximum of 300 workers on site at one time. Once the project is operational there will be 11-13 Full-time employees.
Shawn Berkie from Fromberg asked about tax impacts from the project. Angela noted the County projects a $230,000 increase in County tax revenues if the New and Expanding Industry Tax Abatement is granted; Angela also noted the project would provide tax relief for landowners in the Bridger School District by shifting the tax burden to PacifiCorp. There was also a discussion regarding the wind impact fee which can be assessed up to 1.5% of the project cost.
Jerry Gereghty Pryor Mtn Road asked PacifiCorp what its decommission plan was. Ken noted that as regulated utility they are responsible for decommissioning all facilities. Commissioner DeArmond also noted statues that require bonding for decommissioning wind projects.
Gary Bramble from Belfry asked about where the construction workers will stay. Bob noted their constructor will try to hire locally if possible; he confirmed non local laborers would seek housing in surrounding communities and there would not be man camps at the project location.
Steve Regele from Joliet asked about permits and decommissioning. Ken noted permits for the project have been secured and PacifiCorp is required to keep an asset retirement line in their financial balance sheet for the cost of decommissioning the project.
Deanna Hay who lives on Pryor Mtn Road expressed concerns regarding the dust that will be generated during construction from loads.
Shala Cullum noted she believes there will be more impacts to Bridger and surrounding communities for emergency services and ancillary services. Ken noted outside of the initial construction they do not anticipate any long-term impacts.
Jerry Sticka asked about the amount of concrete necessary for each tower foundation and where the materials will be sourced. Ken noted the logistics would be up to their contractor and they would determine the source of materials.
Commissioner Bullock noted the Bridger School has been involved in impact fee discussions.
Steve Simonson Beartooth RC&D asked about establishing a good neighbor committee. Ken noted PacifiCorp would be willing to do that if Commissioners thought it was necessary. Steve also asked if the project was viable without the tax abatement; Ken was not sure.
Jim Morgan Pryor Mtn Road also expressed concerns about the affects of dust and increased traffic on his pasture.
There was a discussion about how the project boundary changed due to the area grandfathered in by the Sage Grouse Oversight Committee. Commissioner Blain noted that without the 2014 project area map that allowed the project to be grandfathered in, the project would not have been viable. Bob noted they will work with landowners to address open range concerns.
Respectfully submitted: Angela Newell, Administrative Officer