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Wind Development Precluded in 20% of Wyoming to Protect Threatened Bird

sage grouseTo protect the threatened sage grouse, the governor of Wyoming has instituted a rule that precludes development of wind energy on about 20 percent of the state, reports Reuters.

The Audubon Society, along with other environmental groups, lobbied for the rule, which does not affect existing developments, just future ones.

The rule also will keep oil and gas industry developments to one pad per square mile.

About 23 percent of Wyoming is core habitat for the sage grouse.

The rule puts into doubt the future of a 198-turbine, $600 million wind farm proposed by Horizon Wind Energy.

This is not the first environmental rule that may preclude major renewable energy developments.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced legislation Dec. 21 that would protect a million acres of Mojave Desert, putting on hold 13 large solar plants and wind farms that had been proposed for the area.

Also, in California’s Panoche Valley, Solargen Energy faces an uncertain future with its $1.8 billion solar project, which would produce 420 megawatts, or enough to power about 315,000 homes.

Opposition from various chapters of the Audubon Society has focused on the size of the project and its effect on endangered species.

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