Cowboy Solar, largest solar power project in Wyoming, U.S.A, approved

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Cowboy Solar project, one of the largest if not the largest solar power projects in Wyoming, was recently allowed to be carried out.

The Industrial Siting Division of Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality approved the implementation of the solar power project. The approval comes approximately four months after the project’s developer, Enbridge Inc., submitted a request for approval. Enbridge Inc. is a Canadian multinational pipeline and energy company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

According to reports, the company plans to build the solar power plant on a total of 3,845 acres of private land leased south of Cheyenne, approximately 4 miles southeast of the capital city. To be precise, the project site is located east of U.S. Highway 85 and both north and south of Chalk Bluff Road and County Road 203.

Cowboy Solar Project Timeline

The Cowboy Solar Project is set to be carried out in two phases, Cowboy Solar 1 and Cowboy Solar 11, at an estimated cost of $1.2 billion.

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The construction of Cowboy Solar I, which has a proposed 400 MW solar energy capacity, is expected to begin by March 2025. The construction of the Cowboy Solar 11 on the other hand is expected to begin in August 2027. Cowboy Solar 11 has a proposed solar energy capacity of 371 MW.

The developer also plans the construction of a total of 269 MW battery energy storage systems, 136 MW for the Cowboy Solar I and 133 MW for the Cowboy Solar II. This will be carried out at the same time as the solar power plant which will feature a total of more than 1.2 million panels

Once the construction works begin, according to Enbridge, the onsite workforce will have a monthly average of 285 temporary workers. This number of workers is expected to increase to 375 by April 2025.

Cowboy Solar Project beneficiaries

Upon completion, with a 771-megawatt capacity, the Cowboy solar power plant will generate enough electricity to power 771,000 homes plus, which is more than all homes in Wyoming. However, Enbridge designates power from the farm for large industrial corporate customers in Wyoming and not homeowners.

Noteworthy, the section of south Cheyenne where the solar farm will be built is where super-sized, energy-guzzling data centres are located. These data centres include software giant Microsoft Corp., social media giant Meta Platforms Inc. (formerly Facebook) and others.

Nevertheless, homeowners could benefit from other solar power plant projects thanks to the updated Western Solar Plan. The updated Western Solar Plan is an update of BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan.  The latter identified areas with high solar potential and low resource conflicts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, in order to guide responsible solar development and provide certainty to developers.

Following months of stakeholder engagements, including 15 public scoping meetings, the updated roadmap refines the analysis in the original six states and expands it to include Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

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